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Bethesda, Maryland 



£liperieMce diWctin(/l^xifA to ^/le con (e/?if) Marion o/^f7if n'(>/:/b' o/'^V(rfy//v. 










T»resi(ient of the Philadelphia Linnean Society, and Professor of Materia Medicn, Natural Histor? 
and Botany, in the University of Pennsylvania. 










VOL. I. 


ADVERTISEMENT respecting the Work in General - . \ 

Explanationof Plate II. ..... xvii 

STUDY I Immensity of Nature Plan of my Work - . 1 

STUDY II Beneficence of Nature - - . - 74 

STUDY III Objections against Providence - • - 81 

STUDY IV Replies to the objections against Providence - 85 

Replies to the Objections founded on the Disorders of the 
Globe 87 

STUDY V Replies to the Objections against Providence, founded on 

the Disorders of the Vegetable Kingdom - 157 

STUDY VI Replies to the Objections against Providence, founded on 

the Disorders of the Animal Kingdom - - 175 

STUDY Vn Replies to the Objections against Providence, founded on 

the Calamities of the Human Race ... 198 

STUDY VIII.. ..Replies to the Objections against a Divine Providence, 
and the Hopes of a Life to come, founded on the incom- 
prehensible Natui'c of GOD, and the Miseries of a pre- 
sent State 280 

STUDY IX Objections against the Methods of our Reason, and the 

Principles of our Sciences . - - . . 309 

'sTUDY X Of some general Laws of Natui-e, and first, of Physical 

Laws ...... 343 

Of Conformity .... . - - ib. 

Of Order - - - 346 

Of Harmony ...... 349 

Of Colours ...... - 3o2 

Oi Forms ... - - 363 

Of JMovements ... - - . 367 

Of Consonances ... - ... S77 

Of Progression ..... . . * 392 

OfConti-asts - - ... - - 395 



THE first Edition of this Work, published in Decembei'- 
1 784, was nearly out of print in December 1785. It run it's 
natural course, in about the space of a year, without my having 
employed any one trick of the trade to puff it off, to accelerate 
the sale, or to send it abroad for a market : I may therefore 
flatter myself that it has been graciously received in my own. 
Country. It appears likewise to have been relished by stran- 
gers ; for within these six months pirated impressions of it have 
appeared at Geneva and Avignon ; and this literary plunder 
might have injured me, had not M. Laurent de Villedeuil^ then 
Director-general of the Press, now Intendant of Rouen, and 
universally known for the strictest honour and probity of cha- 
racter, given, on my simple request, the most peremptory orders 
to prohibit the admission of those pirated copies in the King- 
dom.* Farther, the publication of this Work afforded an op^ 
portunity to Messrs. the Count de VergcnneSj the Baron de- 
Breteuilf and de Calonne^ my ancient and illustrious subscribers, 
at the solicitation of my respectable friends, Messrs. Hennin 
and Mcsnard^ of Conichard, of procuring for me, or for my 
family, some annual marks of the King's Benevolence. 

* I have been informed that within these four montiis they had found their 
way to Lyons, to Marseilles, to Toulon, and undoubtedly to other places ; so 
tliat the Booksellers of those cities have not been provided for four months 
past M'ith copies of my Edition, by which the sale of it has been considerable' 
checked. An infringement so unjustifiable of the rights of property of Au- 
thors, and of their privileges, and so contrary to Royal autliority, ought cer- 
tainly to be discoiu-agcd. And I look for redress against such acts of injus- 
tice, from the equity of the Magistrate who presides over the Press 

VoT.. I. h 


This success ought undoubtedly to have satisfied me ; but I 
am no less so with the honourable professions of friendship 
which have been tendered to me, by persons of all conditions, 
and of both sexes, most of whom are unknown to me. Some 
distinguished me by their visits ; and others by epistolary ad- 
dresses the most affecting, conveying their thanks for my Book, 
as if, in giving it to the Public, I had conferred a personal obli- 
gation on themselves. Several of them have invited me to take up 
my residence at their country seats, and to enjoy those rural 
scenes, of which, as they are pleased to say, I am so passion- 
ately fond. Yes, vmdoubtedly, I should dearly love a country 
residence, but a residence which I could call my own, and not 
another man's. 

I made the best acknowledgement in my power to tenders of 
service so flattering ; but could avail myself only of the good- 
will which they breathed. Benevolence is the flower of friend- 
ship, and it's perfume always lasts so long as you let it remain 
on the stem, without gathering it. The afflicted father of a 
family has informed me, that my Studies were to him the sweet- 
est source of consolation in his distress. An Atheist of a city 
far distant from Paris, has paid me frequent visits, struck even to 
admiration, as he said, at the harmonies of plants which I had in- 
dicated, and of which he had recognized the existence in Nature- 
Personages of real importance, and others M^ho wished to 
pass for such, have endeavoured to allure me to them, by hold- 
ing out gilded prospects of melioration of fortune : but as long 
as I can attain the rare felicity of being beloved, and, what is of 
still greater importance to me, the power of being useful, so 
long shall I fly, if I can, the calamity so common, and so hu- 
miliating, of being under protection. I speak not thus out of 
vanity, but to express my gratitude in the best manner I am 
able, as my custom is, for the slightest mark of kindness shewn 
me, provided I can believe it sincere. 

I have reason to believe, then, from these concurring suffra- 
ges of persons of character, that GOD has been.^leased to bles^ 


jny labours, though chargeable with manifold imperfections. I 
consider it to be my duty to render the Work as worthy of the 
public esteem as I can : accordingly I have corrected in this 
New Edition, the errors of the Press, the blemishes in point of 
style, and the obscurities in point of meaning, which I remark- 
ed in the first ; and this partly'by myself, partly with the assist- 
ance of certain well-informed friends, without, however, re- 
trenching any thing material, and this too in conformity to their 
wishes. I have only taken the liberty, for the sake of perspi- 
cuity, to make some transpositions in the notes. In the same 
view I have added some others, and among these, in the expli- 
cation of the plates, a geometrical figure, which renders per- 
ceptible to the eye the mistake of our Astronomers, respecting 
the flatness of the Earth at the Poles, and affords new proofs of 
the alternate and half-yearly course of the Atlantic Ocean, by 
the melting of the polar ices. Finally, I have employed a set 
of new and beautiful types of the foundry of M. Didot the 
younger, that the reputation of this Artist might contribute it's 
share toward the celebrity of the Work. 

I should have deemed myself happy to derive infonnation 
respecting the subject of my Book, from the illumination, and 
from the candid decisions of literary Journalists. Gentlemen of 
this description have been left, for this purpose, entirely to their 
own discretion ; for I have neither by myself, or by others, so- 
licited approbation, or deprecated criticism ; but they have, for 
the most part, confined themselves to observations of no essen- 
tial importance. That Journal which contains of all others, the 
greatest variety of articles, and which, from the great talents of 
the persons engaged in conducting it, seemed most likely to in- 
struct me, finds fault with me for having affirmed, that animals 
were not exposed by Nature to perish, like Man, by famine ; and 
it has objected to me, the case of partridges and hares, in the vi- 
cinity of Paris, which sometimes die of hunger in the Winter. 
But as, on the one hand, these animals are multiplied without 
end all around Paris ; and as, on the other, we mow down every 


thing, even to a blade of grass, it necessarily must sometimes 
happen, that they perish with hunger, especially if the Winter 
is somewhat long. The famine, therefore, which they endure 
in our fields, is occasioned by the inconsiderateness of Man, not 
the improvidence of Nature. Partridges and hares do not die 
of hunger in the forests of the Nonh, where the Winter lasts for 
six months together ; they know well how to find under the snow, 
the herbage and fir-apples of the preceding year, which Nature 
has buried there to ser\- e them as a seasonable supply. 

The other objections raised against some of my positions by 
the Gentlemen Journalists, are neither more important nor much 
better founded. Most of them treat as a paradox the cause of 
the flux and reflux of the Sea, which I ascribe to the alternate 
fusion of the polar ices ; which ices, in the Winter proper to 
each Hemisphere, are from five or six thousand leagues in cir- 
cumference, but in their Summer are not above two or three 
thousand. But as no one of them has produced a single argu- 
ment either against the principles of my theory, or against the 
consequences which I thence deduce, I have nothing to say in 
reply, unless that, as to the point in qviestion, they have pro- 
nounced a decision without having examining into the merits of 
the cause ; an expeditious indeed, but not perfectly equitable 
method of administering justice. 

The Gentleman who has the greatest number of supporters, 
and who undoubtedly well merits that support for the taste 
which he displays in his daily criticisms of literary productions, 
has objected to me, transciently, that I destroyed the action of 
the Moon, which is in such perfect harmony with the pheno- 
mena of the tides. It is evident that he has not taken the trou- 
ble to inform himself, either respecting my new Theory or the 
old one. I destroy nothing of the Moon's action on the Seas ; 
but instead of making her to act on the fluid Seas of the Equa- 
tor, by an astronomical attraction, which produces not the 
slightest eff"ect on the mediterraneans and lakes of the Torrid 
Zone itself, I make her to act on the frozen Seas of the Poles 


by the reflected heat of the Sun, acknowledged by the Ancients,* 
demonstrated by the Modems, and which every man may ex- 
perimentally demonstrate to himself, with a glass of water. 

Besides, it is far from being true, that the phases of the 
Moon are all over the Earth in harmony with the movements of 
the Seas. The flux and reflux of the Sea on our coasts follow 
rather the mean than the real motion of the Moon. In other 
places they are subject to difl"erent laws, which obliged Newton 
himself to admit, " that there must of necessity be, in the perio- 
" dical return of the Tides, some other mixed cause, hitherto 
** undiscovered."! The explanation of these phenomena, are 
which bid defiance to the Astronomical System, are in perfect 
harmony with my natural Theory, which ascribes to the alter- 

* " The Moon dissolves ice by the humidity of her influence." Pliny's Na- 
tural History, book ii. chap. 101. When the Moon shines, in the nights of 
Winter, in all her lustre, it freezes, no doubt, very sharply : because that, 
in this case, the North wind, v^hich occasions this serenity of the air, checks 
the wanning influence of the Moon ; but if the wind is stilled ever so little, 
you see the Heavens covered with vapours which exhale from the Earth, and 
you feel the Atmosphere softened. I ascribe, as Pliny does, to the light of 
that Star, a particular action on the frozen waters of the Earth and on the 
Air ; for I have frequently seen, in the fine nights of the Torrid Zone, all the 
clouds of the Atmosphere disperse in an ascending direction ; wliich sug- 
gested the proverb in common use among sailors, the Moon is eating up the 

Besides, our Naturalists contradict themselves, in siipposing that the 
Moon moves the Ocean, while they refuse it all manner of influence, not 
only on the ices, but on plants, because, say the)', it's heat does not make 
the fluid to ascend in the thermometer. I do not know, in f;ict, whether it 
does, or does not act, on spirit of wine : but what conclusion can be deduced 
from this ? The igneous particles contained in pepper, cloves, pimento, caus- 
tics, &.C. which have such a powerful action on the fluids of the human body, 
would they communicate to spirit of wine the slightest tendency to ascend, 
were you to make an infusion of them with fluid ? Fire, as well as the other 
Elements, vuidergoes combinations, wliich multiply it's action in such and such 
an alliance, and i-educe it to mere nothing in a different situation. We mupt 
not pretend, then, with our instruments of Philosophy, to arrive at the capa- 
bility of determining the effects of natural causes. 

t J\''e-ivtov's Philosphy, chap. xxv. 


nate heat of the Sun, whether direct or reflected by the Moon, 
on the ices of the two Poles, the cause, the variety, and the con- 
stant return of the tides ; and especially of the general and al- 
ternate Currents of the Ocean, which are the immediate moving 
principles of those Tides. Our Astronomers, notwithstanding, 
have never attempted to give any account of the half-yearly 
versatility of these general Currents, so well known in the Indian 
Ocean ; nay, they appear to have been hitherto ignorant that 
there existed similar Currents in the Atlantic. This is however 
a fact which can no longer be called in question, after the new 
proofs which I exhibit in the Sequel to the Studies of Nature. 

I have advanced then no paradox, respecting causes so evi- 
dent ; but I have opposed to an astronomical system, totally 
destitute of physical proof, facts incontrovertible, deduced from 
all the kingdoms of Nature ; facts which have a multitude of 
correspondencies, in the flux and reflux of all rivers and lakes 
which are fed from icy mountains, and which I could easily 
multiply, and exhibit in new lights, relatively to the Ocean it- 
self, if there were occasion, and if health permitted. 

One Journal which, from the title it assumes, would seem 
destined to inform all Europe, as well as that which, from it's 
title, would be thought reserved for the use of the learned, have 
thought proper to maintain a profound silence, not only with 
regard to natural truths so new and so important, but even with 
respect to my whole Work. Others have opposed to me as a 
complete refutation the authority of Newton^ who did not think 
as I do. I highly respect Newton for his genius and for his 
virtues, but I respect truth still much more. The authority of 
great names serves but too frequently as a strong-hold to er- 
ror. It is thus that, on the faith of a 3Iaupertitis^ and of a 
Condamine, Europe has till now believed, that the Earth was 
flattened at the Poles. I demonstrate, after their own opera- 
tions, in the Explication of the Plates^ at the beginning of the 
First Volume, that it is lengthened out at the Poles. What an- 
swer is it possible to give to the geometrical demonstration 


which I produce of It ? For my own part, I am perfectly con- 
vinced that Newton himself would at this day renounce such an 
erroneous opinion, though he was the first who broached it, if 
the truth must be told. 

The Reader will be, undoubtedly, very much surprised to 
find men of such celebrity falling into contradiction so imac- 
countable ; a contradiction, adopted on their assertion, and pub- 
licly taught in all the schools of Europe ; and that no one should 
have appeared to refute the error, and armed with sufficient 
courage to maintain the truth. I was so astonished at it myself, 
that I remained for some time inider the belief that I, and not 
they, had on this article lost every sentiment of evidence. I 
dared not even disclose my thoughts to any person respecting 
this, any more than the other objects of these Studies ; for 
scai'cely have I met, in my progress through life, any but men 
sold to the systems which have led to fortune, or to those which 
promise it. Accordingly, the more I was in the right, being 
alone, and not backed by puffers, the more disadvantageous was 
the ground on which I had to combat them. Besides, how is 
it possible to reason with persons who shroud themselves in the 
clouds of equations, or of metaphysical distinctions, if you press 
them ever so little by the sentiment of truth ? When such re- 
fuges fail, they overwhelm you with authorities innumerable, 
which have subjugated themselves, without a process of reason- 
ing; and by which they mean to subdue, in their turn, the 
man especially who has not joined himself to any party. 

What then could I have done in this crowd of men, vain and 
intolerant, to each of whom an European education says, from 
the days of infancy. Be thejirst; and among so many Doctors, 
titled and without titles, who have appropriated to themselves 
the right to freedom of speech, unless it were to shut myself 
yp, as I frequently do,. in. my freedom of silence ? * If I speak 

there, it is of few tilings, or of things of slight importance. 

• '-.-iu 
* 111 such society a man is not permitted to remain long in possession of his 

light of silence; for they who speak, rlioosetn have no hearers but suck as 

are disposed to applaud 


In the solitary and unconstrained paths however, through 
which I followed truth, I recovered my confidence with the 
new rays which her light diffused, recollecting that the most 
celebrated scholars had been in all ages as much blinded by 
their own errors, as the illiterate are by those of other people. 
Besides, in order to detect the inconsequent reasoning of mo- 
dern Astronomers, it was necessary to employ only some prin- 
ciples of Geometry, which are level to my capacity, and to that 
of all mankind. Accordingly, having full conviction from a 
multitude of observations, meteorological, nautical, vegetable» 
and animal, that the waters of the polar ices had a natural pro- 
clivity southward as far as the Equator, and vexed at being- 
contradicted by the operations, more celebrated than they de- 
serve to be, of Geometricians, I had the courage to examine 
their results, and became convinced that they ought to be the 
same with my own. In a former edition, I presented both the 
one and the other to the Public ; theirs remain without a de- 
fence, and mine stand unimpeached, though without declared 
partisans. In a second Edition, I have demonstrated their er- 
ror on the principles of Geometry ; I now expect a decision 
from the conscience of every candid Reader. 

By the prejudices of education our Astronomers have been 
thus misled; those prejudices which from infancy attach, with- 

I have remarked, that the degree of attention which the world pays to it's 
orators, is ahva3's in proportion to the degree of power, or of malignity, which 
it supposes them to possess. Truth, reason, wit itself, in that case, go for 
nothing. If you would make the world listen to you, you must make your- 
self feared. Those accordingly who shine in it, frequently employ turns of 
phraseology which give you to imderstand, that they are powerful friends, or 
dangerous adversaries. Every plain, modest, candid, good man, is therefore 
reduced to sileiice before them : it is in his power, however, to get deliver- 
ance from thi^ state of constraint, if he can bi-ing himself to flatter his ty- 
rants. But this would in me produce the diametrically opposite effect, for 1 
can flatter only where I love. » i •< , h . 

Fly from the world then ye who will neither flatter nor malign ; for you 
will lose in it at once the good wliich you cxprctecVfrom it, .and that which 
is the gift of your own conscience. 


out reflection, to fashionable errors that lead to fortune, and 
which engage us to reject solitary truths that lead to none. They 
have been seduced by the reputation of Newton^ which has been 
objected to myself, and Newton had himself been seduced, as 
usually happens, by his own system. That sublime Geometri- 
cian proceeded on the supposition that the centrifugal force, 
which he applied to the motion of the stars, had flattened the 
poles of the Earth by acting upon it's Equator. Norwood^ a 
Mathematician of England, having found, by measuring the 
Meridian from London to York, the terrestrial degree to be 
eight fathom greater than that which Cassini had measured in 
France, " Newton^'' says Voltaire^ " ascribed this small excess 
" of eight fathom in a degree, to the figure of the Earth, which 
" he believed to be that of a spheroid, flattened towards the 
" Poles; and he concluded that Norwood^ having taken his Me- 
" ridian in a region to the northward of our's, must have found 
" his degree to be greater than that of Cassini, as he supposed 
" the curve of the Earth measured by Nonvoodxo be the longer 
" of the two."* It is evident that, the degree being greater raid 
the curve longer toward the North, Neivton ought to have con- 
cluded that the Earth was lengthened out at the Poles; but he 
deduced the directly opposite conclusion, namely, that it was 
flattened there. The truth is, his system of the Heavens oc- 
cupying all the faculties of his vast genius, prevented his de- 
tecting on the Earth a geometrical inconsequence: he adopted 
therefore, without examination, an experiment which he thought 
favourable to his system, not perceiving that it was diametrically 
opposite to him. Modern Astronomers have in their turn suf- 
fered themselves to be seduced b)' the reputation of Nexuton^ 
and by a weakness so apt to warp the human mind, that of at- 
tempting to explain all the operations of Nature by a single law. 
Bouguer himself, one of their co-operators, in his Treatise on 
Navig-atio}7, book v. chap. v. § 2. page 435, says expressly, that 

* JVewtoJi's Philosophy, chap, xviii. 

Vol. I. c 


" on this discovery of the flattening of the Poles, the whole of 
" Physics almost depends." . 

Our Astronomers then have set out on a ramble to the ex- 
tremities of the Earth in quest of physical proofs of a celestial 
system happy and luminous ; and they were so dazzled with it 
beforehand, that they mistook in their turn the truth itself, which, 
far from the prejudices of Europe, had in deserts just sought 
refuge under their wings. If the most illustrious of modem 
Geometricians could fall into so grose an error in his peculiar 
Science ; and if Astronomers, in other respects abundantly filled 
with a sense of their own sagacity, have, under the influence of 
his name merely, deduced from their own operations a false 
conclusion in support of that error; rejected the preceding ex- 
periments of their Schools, respecting the sinking of the baro- 
meter in the North, with the other geographical observations 
which contradict it ; established on it the basis of all future phy- 
sical knowledge ; and have given it afterwards, by the weight of 
their own reputation, an authority which has not left to the rest 
of the Learned World so much as the liberty of doubting ; it 
behoves us, poor, ignorant, and obscure men, to take good care 
of ourselves, we who search after truth singly for the happiness 
of knowing it. Let us mistrust then, in our researches after it, 
all human authority, as Descartes did, who by doubting onlv, 
dissipated the Philosophy of the age in which he lived, which 
had so long concealed the laws of Nature from the eyes of all 
Europe, by means of the prejudice of the name of Aristotle, 
then held sacred in every University : and let us assume as a 
maxim, that which led Newton himself to so many real disco- 
veries, and after him the Royal Society of London, who have 
taken it for their motto: Nullius iv Verba. 

To return to literary journals ; if they have, as it were in con- 
cert, with-held their approbation from the natural objects of 
these Studies, one of them has advanced, as I am told, that I 
had borrowed my Theory of the Tides by means of the polar 
ices, from certain Latin Authors. This Theory is at last it 
■geeins gaining proselytes, §ince it is exciting envy. 


To that imputation this is my answer. Had I kno^vn of any 
Latin Author who ascribed the Tides to the melting of the po- 
lar ices, I would certainly have named him as a piece of justice, 
which the design of my Work, as well as every principle of con- 
science demanded of me. I have not had, like so many Philo- 
phers, the vanity of creating at my ease a World after my own 
f^ncy; but I have endeavoured, with no small labour, to collect 
the several pieces of the plan of that in which we live, dispersed 
among the men of all ages, and of all nations, who have observ- 
ed it with the greatest care. Accordingly, I have taken my 
ideas of the allongation of the Earth at the Poles, from Childrey^ 
Kepler^ Tycho-Brhae^ Casaini.., ...and above all, from the ope- 
rations of modern Astronomers ; of the extent of the frozen 
Oceans which cover the Poles, from Denis^ Barents^ Cook, and 
all the Navigators of the North and South Seas ; of the ancient 
deviation of the Sun from the Ecliptic, from Egyptian Tradi- 
tions, Chinese Annals, and even from the Grecian Mythology ; 
of the total fusion of the polar ices, and of the universal Deluge 
which it produced, from Moses and Job ; of the heat of the 
Moon, and it's effects on ice and water, from Pliny, and from 
recent experiments made at Rome and at Paris ; of the Currents 
and Tides which flow alternately from the Poles toward the 
Equator, from Christopher Columbus, Barents, Marten, Ellis, 
Linschoten, Abel-Tastnan, Dampier, Pennant, ReJinefort, &c. I 
have quoted all these Observers in terras of high approbation. 

Had I known of any Latin Author, who ascribed to tlie melt- 
ing of the polar ices the cause of the Tides, in so much as any 
one part of the Ocean, I would have quoted him in like man- 
ner, reserving to myself the glory of the Architect, that of com- 
bining and arranging these detached observations ; of allotting 
them to their peculiar seasons and latitudes, in order to clear 
them of the apparent contradictions, which had liitherto pre- 
vented the deduction of any fi\ir consequence from them ; and, 
in a word, of assigning a cause and evident means for effects 
which, during so many ages, had l>een involved in mysteiy. I 


have formed, then, one Whole of all these scattered truths, and 
have deduced from them the general harmony of the movements 
of the Ocean, of which the heat of the Sun is the first cause^ the 
polar ices are the 7)ieans, and the half yearly and the alternate 
Currents of the Seas, with the diurnal Tides on our coasts, are 
the ejects.* Accordingly, if some persons before me have af- 
firmed that the Tides are produced by the melting of the polar 
ices, which I am to this hour ignorant that any one ever did, I 
at least am the first who demonstrated it. Other Europeans, 
prior to Christopher Columbus^ said that there was another 
World ; but he was the first who landed upon it. If others in 
like manner had affirmed that the Tides have their origin at the 
Poles, no one had believed them, because it was an affirmation 
destitute of proof. 

Before it was possible for me to collect and to complete m} 
proofs, and to render them perfectly luminous, it became neces- 
sary to dispel those thick clouds of venerable error, such as 

* It will be a matter of some difficulty for many persons to conceive how 
our Tides should possibly, in Summer, re-ascend toward the North Pole, at 
the very season when the Current which produces them is rushing down 
from that Pole. They may see a very sensible image of these reti-ograde ef- 
fects of running waters, at the bridge of Notre -Dame, at the opening of the 
arch which is siippoiled by the Quay Pelletier. The Current of the Seine, 
directed obliquely bj^ a kind of dam, against a pile of tliat arch, produce* 
there a coimter-cun-ent, which constantly re-ascends against the coui-se of 
the river, up to the very bubbling over of the dam. In like manner the melt- 
ings of the Northern ices descend in Summer, from the bays adjacent to the 
Polar Circle, going at the rate of from eight to ten leagues an hour, accord- 
ing to Ellis, Linschoten, and Barents ; they flow toward tlie South, in the mid- 
dle of the Atlantic Ocean ; but coming to meet on their shores, almost in 
front, Africa and America, whei-e they project on both sides, a violent reflux 
is produced, to right and left, along the coasts of both Continents, which is 
forced northward above the Capes BoiadoT and St. Augustin, which are ren- 
dered famous by their Currents. Now, as tlif sources from which they issue 
have an intermittent flux of acccUeration and retardation, occasioned by tlie 
diurnal and nocturnal action of the Sun on the ices of the eastern and western 
Hemisphere of the Pole, their lateral counter-ciUTcnts, that is, their Tides, 
have likewise a similar interniitU'H- Amv 


Poles flattened, and washed with Seas clear of ice, which our 
pretended Sciences had spread between truth and us, and which 
were sufficient to involve all our Physics in an eternal night. 
Here, then, is the glory at which I aspire, that of assembling 
some of the harmonies of Nature, in order to form a concert of 
them, which should elevate man toward the great Author of 
All : or rather I have aimed only at the felicity of knowing them 
myself, and of pointing them out to my fellow-creatures ; for I 
am ready to adopt any other system, which shall present to the 
human understanding a higher degree of probability, and to the 
heart of Man a purer consolation. 

To GOD alone glory is to be ascribed ; and peace is Man's 
choicest possession, which is never so pure, and so profound, as 
in the perception and the feeling of that very Glory which go- 
verns the Universe. My highest ambition is the delight of dis- 
covering some new rays of it, and, henceforward, my most ar- 
dent wish is to have the remainder of my days illuminated by 
it, to the exclusion, as far as I am personally concerned, of that 
vain, fantastical, unsatisfying, inconstant glory, which the World 
gives and takes away at pleasure. 

I have been thus diffuse on the right which I claim to the 
discovery of the cause of the Currents and Tides, from the melt- 
ing of the 'polar ices, because having opposed to most of the re- 
ceived opinions on that subject, many observations which I chal- 
lenge as my own, if each required a special manifesto, to ascer- 
tain my property in it, there would be no end to my advancing 
such pretensions. Besides, if they shall acquire so much ce- 
lebrity as to procure me, according to the spirit of the age in 
which we live, perfidious applause, underhand persecution, af- 
fected commiseration, all calculated to blast my uncertain, tardy, 
and hitherto hardly budding fortunes, I solemnly declare that, 
associated with no party, and able to oppose no one but myself 
singly to every new adversary', instead of cramming the public 
prints, as the custom is, with recrixnination, abuse, complaint, 
lamentation, the waste of time, I shall df^fend myself only on 


my own ground, and shall oppose to my enemies, whether se- 
cret or avowed, Truth ; and nothing but Truth. It's mirror 
shall be my Egis ; and their image reflected from it, shall be- 
come to each a Medusa's head. Or rather, may it be my lot, 
far remote from fickle and treacherous Man^ under the roof of 
a small rustic cot which I can call my own, on the border of a 
wood, elicite the statue of my Minerva from the trunk of her 
own tree, and place at last a whole Globe at her feet. 

Farther, if the Gentlemen Reviewers have withheld from me 
their suffrages, respecting objects of so much importance to the 
progress of natural knowledge, and if others have got the start 
of me, in precluding my claim to those of the Public, I can 
already boast the concurrence of illustrious names among all 
conditions of men. The Sorbonne, to whom I am personally 
unknown, has done me the honour of adopting the new proofs 
of the Universal Deluge, which I have deduced from the total 
fusion of the polar ices : these proofs have been laid down as 
axiomatical in one of it's theses, maintained for the first time 
by the Abbe de VigueraSy in his academical exercise of the 6th 
July, 1785. 

After all, supposing my friends the Reviewers to have ex- 
pressed still more reluctance to give an account of opinions, 
which contradict those of Academies, and strange even to most 
of themselves : and which must have had a suspicious appear- 
ance from their very novelty, they have made me most ample 
compensation, in applauding me, far beyond my desert, for mo- 
ral qualities, infinitely beyond the value of physical discoveries 
and which I should deem myself singularly happy to attain.* 

* I oughtundoubtedly todistinguisl), in the number of niy paneg-yrisls, tiie 
two first Writers who have given an account of my Work. The one, not- 
withstanding' the smallness of his page, and his propensity to find fault, has 
jmnounced it in a manner tlic most flattcriag ; and the other, devoted to the 
defence of morals and religion, has placed me by the side of a man, at whose 
feet I would have thought myself happy to sit, had Providence be!=!towcd o'i 
m,e the blessing of being his contemporary 


All that is left me, therefore, is to congratulate myself on the 
general interest with which the Public has received the moral 
part of this Work. I have however left untouched the great 
objects of political and moral reform ; the one, because it was 
not permitted me to treat them as my conscience would have 
directed ; and the other, because my plan could not comprehend 
them. I have restricted myself merely to abuses, which it is 
in the power of government to rectify : but there are others as 
universal, which depend entirely on national manners. Such is, 
among others, the celibacy of most domestic servants. Had it 
been in my power to have enlarged on this topic, I could have 
demonstrated that the arrangements of Society never can contra- 
vene the laws of Nature ; that it is the interest of masters to 
have their domestics marry, because they pay, let them do their 
best, the expense of the smuggling libertinism of servants, much 
more excessive, beyond all question, than that of an honest set- 
tlement ; for the strumpet always will spend more than the wo- 
man of character. 

I could have demonstrated the pei-nicious influence which the 
bad morals of unmarried servants have on the children of their 
masters. I could likewise have dilated on the harshness of our 
pretended Fathers of families, who abandon their servants on 
the first attack of sickness, or the approach of old age, or when 
they become parents ; on the obligations under which they lie 
to provide for the necessities of these men, Avho are their natu- 
ral friends, the victims of their ill temper, the witnesses of their 
weakness, and the sources of their reputation, whether good or 
bad. I could have insisted on the necessity of re-establishing 
in at least the first rights of humanity, the unfortunate wretches 
who are deprived of most of the privileges of citizens. I could 
have demonstrated what an influence their happiness has on the 
happiness of families and on national felicity, from what I 
have seen in some Prussian families, where you find in general 
domestics zealous, aflfectionate, respectful, and attached to their 
Jnasters ; for they are bom, they marry, and they die in the 


house of the master ; and you frequently find under the same 
roof a succession of fathers and sons, who have been masters 
and servants for two or three centuries successively. 

Once more, if I have been somewhat diffuse on the disorders 
and intolerance of Associations, I have respected States ; I have 
attacked particular bodies of men, in the view of defending my 
country, and above all in supporting the corps of Humanity. 
Of this we are all members in particular. But GOD forbid that 
I should think of giving a moment's pain to any one individual 
possessed of sensibility : I who have assumed the pen only to 
support the motto prefixed to my Work ; Miser is succurrere 
disco ; (the experience of misery has taught me to succour the 

My dear Reader, whatever then may be your situation in life, 
I shall cheerfully submit to ycur decision, if you judge me as a 
man, in a Work whose leading object is the happiness of Man- 
kind. If on the other hand I have attained the glory of com- 
municating to you some new pleasures, and of extending your 
views into the unbounded and mysterious field of Nature, reflect 
that after all, these are the perceptions but of a man ; that they 
are a mere nothing compared to that which is ; that they are the 
shadows only of that Eternal Truth, collected by one who is 
himself a shadow ; and that a small ray of that Sun of intelli- 
gence which fills the Universe, has been playing in a drop of 
troubled water. 

JMulla abscondita sunt majora his : pauca euini vidimus opentm ejxis. 

There are yet hid g-reater thing-s than these be ; for Ave have seen but a 
lew of his Works. Ecclcsiasticus xliii. 32. 




THIS Plate represents the Atlantic Hemisphere, witli it's Soui-ces, it's Ices, 
It's Channel, it's Currents, and it's Tides, in the months of January and 

Though I am under the necessity of here repeating several observations 
which have a place in the text, to these I am going to subjoin some others, 
worthy, 1 am bold to say, of the Header's most serious attention. 

Obsei've, in the first place, that the Globe of the Earth is not represented 
here after the manner of those Geographers who, in their maps of the World, 
exhibit it as a cavity, in order to give the retreating parts the appearance of 
being on a great scale. Their projection conveys a false idea of tlie Earth, 
by shewing the retii'ing parts of it's circumference as the widest ; and, on the 
contrary, the prominent parts of the middle as the narrowest. They present, 
not a convex globe, but a concave. This figure represents it such us it would 
appear to an eye placed in the Heavens, when the Atlantic Ocean is turned 
to it, and in our Winter. 

You may distinguish in it the sources of the Atlantic Ocean, which issue 
m Summer from the North Pole ; it's channel formed by the projecting and 
retreating parts of the two Continents ; audits discharge, comprehended be- 
tween Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, by which this Ocean empties 
itself in Summer into the Indian Ocean. 

The opposite side of this Hemisphere, though still in a great measure im- 
kuovi n to us, would present, as well as the Northern, a fluviatic channel with 
all the same accessories ; sources, ices, currents, and tides, formed not by 
Continents, but by the projections of islands, and of it's steep beds, which 
direct during our Winter the course of the Southern polar-effusions into the 
Indian Ocean. However interesting these new projections of the Globe may 
be, it was impossible for me to make the cx})enditure necessary to prv)cure 
engravings of them. It would have been extremely desirable to have exhibit- 
ed a representation of both Ilemisjihcrcs, each in it's Summer and in it's 
Winter, in order to sec their different Currents at each season, and to have 
presented a bird's-eye view of the Poles themselves, as well in Winter as in 
Summer, in order to convey an idea of the extent of the cupolas of ice which 
Vol. I. ' cl 


cover them, and the currents which issue from them at the different seasons 
of the year. These different sections would have required at least eight 
plates, on a scale greater than this, perceptibly to unfold the harmonies of 
this single branch of my Studies of Nature. Besides, this increase of chai'ta 
would have led to more particular and more copious details respecting the 
distributions of the Globe, which I did not mean to treat in this Work, except 
as the subject occasionally presented itself. 

The simple aspect of the Atlantic Hemisphere, in the months of January 
and February, will be sufficient to render intelligible what we have said res- 
pecting the polar ices and their periodical effusions. We shall treat, in their 
order, of the sources of the Atlantic, of it's ices, of it's channels, of it's cui-- 
rents, of it's tides, and even of it's discharge. 

The Sources of the Atlantic Ocean are in Summer at the North Pole. They 
are situated in the Baltic Sea, tlie bays of Baffin and Hudson, at Waigat's 
Strait, &c. It may be remarked on a Globe in relief, that these sources 
■which constitute the origin of the Atlantic Canal, tui'n round the Pole in a 
winding coui-se, nearly similar to the circuitous current of a river round the 
mountain from which it descends ; so that they collect in this part all the 
discharges of the rivers which empty themselves to the North, and caiTy 
their waters along into the Atlantic Ocean. From this arises a presumption, 
that there is in proportion much less polar eff"usion in the part of the South 
Seas which is opposite to it. We shall farther see, that Nature has subjected 
to the Atlantic channel the extremities of the two general currents of the 
Poles, which there terminate, after having made the circuit of the Globe ; 
and it is by v/ay of opposition to the sources from which these currents issue, 
that I give to the extremities of their courses the name of mouth. But let UB 
at present confine ourselves to the subject of their sources. 

We conceive that the waters of these sources must flow toward the Line., 
whither they are carried to replace those which the Sun is there every day 
evaporating ; but they have besides an elevation which facilitates their 
course. Not only are the ices from which they proceed very considerably 
elevated over theHemi sphere, but the Poles have themselves a great eleva- 
tion of soil. I groimdthis assertion, in the first place, on the observations of 
Tycho-Brhae and Kepler, who saw the shadow of the Earth oval at tlie Poles, 
in central eclipses of the Moon ; and on the authority of Cassini, who assigns 
fifty leagues moi'e to the axis of the Earth than to it's diameter in any other 
direction. In the second place, I have on my side authentic experiments, 
collected by the Academy of Sciences, but which have no longer been i-efer- 
redto since the opinion became prevalent, that the Earth was flattened at the 

For example, it is v/ell known, that in proportion as you ascend on a moun- 
tain, the mercury in the barometer subsides : now, the mercury sinks in the 
barometer in proportion as you advance northward. It falls about one line, 
In our Climates, when you ascend to an elevation of eleven fathom. Accord- 
ing to the History of the Academy of Sciences, for 1712, page 4, the weiglit 
of one line of mercury at Paris, is equivalent to an elevation of ten fathoms 
and five feet, whereas in Sweden you have to ascend only ten fathom one foot 
and six inches to make the mcrcuiy sink one line. The Atmosphere of 


alwreden therefore Is not so higli as that of Paris, and consequently the ground 
of Sweden is higlicr. 

To tfiesc observations may be farther subjoined those which have been made 
&y the Navigators of tlie North, who have always seen the elevation of the S'un 
above the Horizon greater, the nearer that they approached to the Poles. It is 
impossible to ascribe these optical effects to the simple laws of the refraction 
of the Atmosphere. According to Bougttcr, a well known Academician, in 
his Treatise on J^avigation, book iv. chap. 3. section 3. " Refraction elevates 
" the stars in appearance ; and we are assured, by an infinite number of cer- 
" tain observations, that when they appear to us in the Horizon, they are in 
" reality 33 or 34 miniites under it. — In regions where the air is more dense, 
" the refractions must be somewhat stronger, and they are likewise, every 
" thing else being equal, somewhat greater in Winter tlian in Summer. In 
" the practice of navigation that difference may be entirely neglected, and 
" perpetual recurrence may be had to the small table placed on the margin.'^ 
You see in fact at this part of his work a small table, in which he lays down 
the gi'eatest refraction of the Sun in the Horizon, at 34 minutes, for all the 
climates of the Globe. But how came it to pass that Barents should have 
seen the Sun above the Horizon of Nova Zembla, on the 24th of January, in 
the the sign of Aquarius, at five degrees twenty-five minutes, whereas he 
ought to have been there in sixteen degrees twenty-seven minutes, in order 
to be perceived in the seventy-sixth degi'ee of northern Latitude, where Ba- 
rents then was ? The refraction of the Sun then above the Horizon was nearly 
two degrees and a half, that is, four times as great, nay more than Bouguer 
Supposes it to be, as he assigns only thirty-four minutes, or nearly, for every 
climate in general. 

Barents in truth was very much astonished to see the Sun fifteen days 
sooner than he expected ; and he could not be persuaded that it actually was 
only the 24th of January, but by observing, that very night the conjunction 
of the jVIoon and Jupiter, announced for the Latitude of Venice at one hour 
after midnight, in the ephemeris of Joseph Scala, ^nd which took place that 
very night at Nova Zembla, at six oftthe clock of the morning, in the sign of 
Taurus ; which gave him at once the longitude of his hut in Nova Zembla, 
and the certainty that it must be the 24th of January. 

A refraction of two degrees and a half is undoubtedly very considerable 
We may, in my opinion, ascribe one half of it to the apparent elevation of the 
Sun in the very refractive Atmosphere of Nova Zembla, and the oilier half 
to the real elevation of the Observer above the Horizon of the Pole. Barejits 
accordingly observed from Nova Zembla the Sun in the Equator, just as a 
man sees him earlier at the summit of a mountain than at it's basis. It i^ 
besides a principle which admits of no exception of the harmonic laws of the 
Universe, that Nature proposes to herself no one end without constrainuig 
all the elements to concur at once to the production of it. Of this we have 
adduced manifold proofs in the course of tliis Woi'k. Nature accordingly 
having determined to indemnity the Poles for the absence o."the Sun, makes 
the Moon pass toward the Pole which the Sun abandons : She crystallizes 
and reduces into brilliant snows the water which covers it; she renders it's 
Atmosphere more refractive, that the presence of the Sun may be detained 
Ibngcr \i\ it, and restored sooner to it : and hence also there is reason to con- 


elude, that she has drawn out the Poles of the Earth themselves, in order to 
bestow on them a long-er participation of the influence of the Orb of Day. 

Certain celebrated Academicians have, it is true, laid it down as a funda- 
mental principle, that the Earth was flattened at the Poles. Here what the 
Academician whom I last quoted says on this subject. He had been employ- 
ed, with some others, to measure a dcgi-ee of tlie Meridian, near the Equator, 
which they found to contain 56,748 fathoms : " But," continues he, " what 
" is well worthy of attention, the terrestrial degrees have not been found of 
" the same Icng-th in other regions wlierc similar operations have been per- 
" formed, and the difference is too g-reat to be ascribed to the unavoidable 
" errors in obsei-vation. The degree upon the polar Circle is found to be 
" 57,422 fathoms. Accordingly it follows, beyond contradiction, that the 
" Earth is not perfectly round, and that it must be liigher toward the Equa- 
" tor tlian toward the Poles, conformably to what other experiments uidicatc, 
" which it is not necessary here to detail. The curving of the Earth is moi*c 
*•' sudden toward the Equator in the direction of North and South, as the de- 
" grees are smaller there : and the Earth on the contrary is flatter toward the. 
" Poles, because there the degrees are greater." Bovgwcr''s Treatise on J\i'a- 
vigation, book ii. chap. 14. art. 29. 

I deduce v.ithout hesitation a conclusion diametrically opposite, from the 
observations of these Academicians. I conclude that the Earth is lengthened 
out at the Poles, precisely for this reason, that tlie degi'ees of the Meridian 
are greater there than under the Equator. Here is m.y demonstration. If you 
place a degree of the Meridian at the polar Circle, over a degree of the same' 
Meridian at the Equator, the first degree, which is 57,422 fathoms, would 
exceed the second, which contains only 56,748 fatlioms, by 674 fathom.s, con- 
formably to the operations of the Academicians themselves. Consequently 
it you were to apply the whole arch of the Meridian which crowns the polar 
Circle, and which contains 47 degree.'^, to an arch of 47 degrees of the same 
Meridian, near the Equator, it would produce a considerable protuberance, 
it's degi-ecs being greater. This polar arch of the Meridian could not extend 
in length over the equinoctial arch of the same Meridian, because it contains 
the same number of degi'ccs, and consequently a chord of the same extent. 
If it extended in length, exceeding the second at the rate of 674 fathoms for 
each degree, it is evident that it would, at the extremity of it's 47 degi-ees, 
(fet out of the circumference of the Earth ; that it would no longer pertain to 
ihe circle on which it was traced, and that it would form, on applying it tc 
one of the Poles, a species of flattened mushroom, which would project romid 
and round, it's brim touching the Earth in no one point. 

In order to render the thing still more apparent, let us always suppose that 
the profile of the Earth at the Poles is an arch of a circle, and that it contains 
47 degrees, is it not evident, if you trace a curve on tlie inside of this arch, a.'* 
the Academicians do, who fl.atten the Earth at the Poles, that it must be 
smaller than this arcli within which it is described, as being contained in it ; 
and that the more this curve is flattened, the smaller it becomes, as it will* 
approach more and more to the chord of the arch, that is to. a straight line ■' 
Of consequence, the 47 degi-ees, or divisions, of this interior curve, will be, 
eacli in pailK ular, as they are when taken together, smaller than the 47 de- 
grtres of the arch of the containing circle. But as the degrees of the polar 


curve are, on the contrary, greater than those of an arch of a circle, it must 
follow that tlie whole curve should likewise be of greater extent than an arclf 
•ni' a circle : now it cannot be of greater extent, but on the supposition of it's 
being more protuberant and circumscribed round this aixh, the polar curve 
of consequence forms a lengtliencd ellipsis. 

I here present a figure of the Globe, which I have got engraved, in order 
lo render the mistake of our Astronomers perceptible to every eye. 

; X 


Polar Afctic-circle 

\ Ti-opio of Capricorn 7 

Polai^Antarctic-circle y^ 


Let X be the unknown arch of the Meridian comprehended above ihc arc- 
tic polar circle ABC. and letDEF be the arch of the same Meridian compre- 
hended between the Tropics. These two arches are, it is well known, each 
of 47 degrees. But though thev both are subtended by equal angles, A6C 
and DGF, they are by no means of equal expansion ; for, according to our 
Astronomers, a degree of the Meridian at the polar circle is g^-eater, by 674 
fiithoms, than a degree of the same Meridian near the Equator. It follows 
therefore that the unknown jiolar arch x of 47 degrees, exceeds in extent the 
equinoctial arch DEF, which likewise contains 47 dcs^-ces ; by 4rtimts 674 
fathoms, which amount to 31,678 fathoms, or twelve leagues and two thirds. 
The question now to be determined then is, whether this unknown polar arch 
M is contained within tlic circle, in the curve AhC, or coincides with it, as 
ABC, or fidls without it's circumference, in the direction AtC. 

The unknown polar arch x cannot be contained within the Globe, as AfiC, 
as is j)retendcd by our Astronomers, who will have it to be flattened there : 
for if it were contained, It wovdd ho evidently smaller than the spherical arch 
ABC which surrounds it, conformably to this axiom, that the thing contained 
is smaller than what contains it ; and the more this curve AAC shall be flat- 


tened, the less wUl be its extent, as it wiU approach nearer and nearer to it's 
chord, that is, the straight line AKC. 

On tlie other hand, this polar arch x cannot coincide with the spherical 
arch ABC, for it exceeds it by twelve leagues and two thirds. It must be- 
long therefore to a curve which falls without the circumference of the Globe, 
as in the direction \iC. The Globe of the Earth then is lengthened at the 
Poles, as degi-ees of tlie Meridian are greater there than at the Equator. As- 
tronomers have consequently erred in concluding from the magmtude of those 
degrees, that the Poles were flattened. 

I shall conclude this demonstration by an image more trivial mdeed, but 
equaUy sensible. If vou divide the two circumferences of an e^g, in length 
and breadth, each into 360 degrees, would you conclude that this egg was 
flattened toward it's extremities because the degrees of it's circumference in 
length were greater than the degrees of it's circumference in breadth ? What 
i.3 very singular here is, that Academicians employ the same figure nearly to 
deduce results which flatly contradict each other They represent the Globe 
of the Earth Uke a Dutch cheese. They take it for granted that the Globe is 
very elevated over the Equator. " The curve of the Globe," says Bouguer, 
in the passage above quoted, " is more sudden toward the Equator, in the 
" direction of North and South, because the degi-ees there are smaller : and 
•' the Earth, on tlie contrary, is flatter toward the Poles, because the degrees 
" there are greater. One would imagine that the Equator was distinguished 
" only by the greatest rapidity of motion performed in the space of twenty- 
" four houi's ; but it is marked by a distinction still more real, namely, a 
*' continued elevation, which must be about six marine leagues and a half 
" quite round the Earth, and every where at an equal distance from botli 
" Poles." 

We here see the strange consequence deduced at once from the flattening 
of the Earth at the Poles, and from the magnitude of the degrees of the Me- 
ridian at that part, which necessarily give to the polar Circle a projection be- 
yond it's circumference : those which may be deduced from the elevation and 
more sudden curve of the Equator, would be no less extraordinary. They are 
precisely these, if botli the one and the other existed, there would be no Sea 
under the Equator ; because the course of the waters v/ould be in this case 
determined by the elevation of six leagues and a half, and by the more sudden 
curvature of that part of the Earth to withdraw from it, and by the power of 
gravity to flow toward the flattened Poles nearer to the centre, and there to 
re-establish the spherical segment which the Academicians have cut oft'. Ac- 
cording, on this hypothesis, the Seas would cover the Poles, and would there 
be of a pi'odigious depth, whereas we should have nothing but elevated Con- 
tinents under the Line. But Geography demonstrates the direct contrary; 
for it is around the Line that we find the gi-eatest Seas, and a great quantity 
of Land liarely up to the level ; and, on the contrary, elevated countries and 
lofty beds of water are very frequent, especially toward the North Pole. 

Let us now proceed to consider the polar ices. Though they arc here re- 
presented precisely in the fugitive and least visible parts of the Globe, it is 
easy to form a judgment of their very considerable exj^ent from the arch of 
ihe Meridian which embraces them. At the South Pole, where they are in a 
^mailer quantity, having just undergone all the ardour of the Summer oT 


that Hemisphere, they still extend from the Pole to the 70th degree of south 
ern Latitude at the least. They there form, accordingly, a cupola of an arch 
of more than 40 degrees, which at the rate of twenty-five leagues at least to 
a degree, for degrees at this part of the Globe, conformably to the experience 
of our Academicians, are greater than toward the Equator, give a breadth of 
more than a thousand and twenty leagues, or a circumference of more than 
three thousand. It is impossible to call in question these dimensions, foj 
they are taken from the last observations of Captain Cook, who made the toui' 
of this cupola during their Summer. 

The ices of the North Pole are much more extensive, because they are re- 
presented in their Winter. On both the one and the other a crest is expres- 
sed of about twenty leagues of elevation at the Poles. I shall not here repeat 
what I have already said respecting the heiglit of those ices which are dis- 
covered floating at the extremities of their cupolas, the elevation of which 
extends to twelve, nay, to fifteen hundred feet. I was exceedingly desirous 
of procuring a representation around these ices of an irradiation, or kind of 
Axirora Borealis, which might have rendered perceptible their circular ex- 
tent, and have heightened the picturesque effect of the Globe by rendering it's 
Poles radiant ; for the South Pole too emits nocturnal coruscations, as Cook 
observed ; and it appears tliat these glories owe their origin to the ices. But 
M. Moreau the yoiuiger, who made the drawings for the platos of this Work, 
and particularly those under review, with all the intelligence and complai- 
sance which characterize him, made me sensible that the Chart had not a 
field sufficiently ample. He has, in other respects, rendered these polar ices 
abundantly luminous to make them distinguishable, without ecUpsing the 
contours of the islands and of the Continents wliich they cover. 

As to the Atlantic channel, you can easily distinguish in it the prominent 
and the retreating parts of the two Continents in correspondence with each 
other. If to this you add the sinuosity of it's sovu-ce toward the Norih, which 
seems to pursue a sei'pcntine progress round our Pole, and it's wide and di- 
vergent mouth, formed by Cape Horn on the one side and the Cape of Good- 
Hope on the other, by which it discharges itself for six months into the Indian 
Ocean, as we shall presently see, you will perceive in it all the proportions of 
a fluviatic canal. As to it's declivity, in taking its departure from the Pole, 
to empty itself as far as in the Indian Ocean and South Sea, by the Cape of 
Good-Hope, I believe it to be, as I have said in the text, nearly the same with 
that of the course of the river Amazon. 

Let us now consider the course of the polar effusions produced by the ac- 
tion of the Sun on the ices of the Poles. There issues every year a general 
(Current from that wliich is heated by the Sun ; and as that great Luminary 
visits them altcrn.atcly, it follows that there must be two genei-al opposite 
currents which communicate to the Seas their movement of circidation, and 
which are known in India by the name of tlie easterly and westerly monsoons, 
or Winter and Summer. 

Tliis being laid down, let us examine the effusions of the South Pole, whicl- 
is here represented in it's Summer. The general Current which issues from 
it divides into two branches, the one of which sets in toward the Atlanti'- 
Ocean, and penetrates even to it's noithe^'n extremity. When this branch 
f-omcs to force it'^ way between the promjncnt parts of Africa and America- 


liading itself straitened on passing from a wider to a narrower space, it forms' 
on the coast two counter-cui-rents, or vortices, wliich proceed in contrary di- 
rections. The one of these counter-cui-rents runs to the East, along the coast 
of Guinea, up to the fourth degree South, according to the testimony ofi?a»n. 
pier. The other takes it's departure from Cape St. Augustin, proceeds to 
the South-West, along the coasts of Brasil, up to Maire's-Strait inclu- 
sively. This effect is the result from a law in Hydraulics, the operation of 
which is generally knomi : it is this, that as often as a cun'ent passes from 
a wider channel into a narrower, it forms on the sides two counter-cui-rents. 
The truth of this may be ascertained by observing the current of a brook, or 
the passage of the water of a river under the arches near the abutment of a 
bridge, &c. Accordingly the current bears to the East, along the coasts of 
Guinea, and to tlic South-West, along tlie coasts of Brasil, during the Sum- 
mer of the South Pole. But in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and beyond 
the strait of the two Continents, it pushes on to the North in full force, and 
advances to the very northern extremities of Europe and of America, bring- 
ing us twice every day along our coasts the tides of the South, which are the 
half-tlaily effusions of the two sides of the South Pole. 

The other branch which issues from tlie South Pole, takes a direction to 
the westward of Cape Horn, ruslics into the Soutli Sea, produces in the Indian 
Ocean the Eastern monsoon, wliich takes place in India during our Winter ; 
and having made the tour of the Globe by the West, comes to the East, to 
unite Itself by the Cape of Good Hope to the general Cui-rent which enters 
into the Atlantic Ocean. It is possible partly to trace on the Chart this gene- 
ral Current of the South Pole, with it's two principal branches, it's couuter- 
cuiTents and it's tides, by the arrows which indicate it's direct, oblique, and 
retrograde movements. 

Six months after, that is in our Summer, commencing toward the end of 
March, when the Sun at the Line begins to forsake the South Pole, and pro- 
ceeds to warm the North, the effusions of the South Pole are stayed ; those 
of our Pole begin to flow, and the Currents of the Ocean change in all Lati- 
tudes. The general Current of the Seas then takes it's departure from our 
Fole, and divides, like that of the South, into tv.'o branches. The first of 
these branches derives it's sources from Waigat's, Hudson's bay, &c. which 
then flow in certain straits with the rapidity of a sluice, and produce toward 
ihe North tides which come from tlie North, from tlic East, and from the 
West, to the great astonishment of Linschoten, Ellis, and other Navigators, 
who had been accustomed to see them come from the Soutli along the coasts 
of Europe. 

This Current, formed by the fusion of most of the ices of the North of 
America, cf Europe, and of Asia, which at that season present a circumfer- 
t;nce of almost six thousand leagues, descends through the Atlantic Ocean, 
passes tlie Une, and finding itself confined at the same Strait of Guinea and 
J]rasil, it forms on it's sides two lateral counter-currents, which set in north- 
ward, as those formed six montlis before by tlic Current of tlie Soutli Pole 
set in southward. These counter-currents produce on tlic coasts of Europe, 
the tidc.^. which always appear to come directly from the South, though tlicv 
attually come at that season from tlie North. 


T]ie bi'anch which produces them advances afterward to the South, dou- 
bles the Cape of Good-Hope, takes it's course eastward, forms in the Indian 
Ocean the westerly monsoon ; and having" encompassed the Globe even to the 
South-Sea, it proceeds to Cape Horn, re-ascends along the coast of Brasil, 
and there produces a current which terminates at Cape St. Augustin, and is 
opposed to the principal Current which descends from the North. 

The other branch of the Current, which in Summer flows from our Pole 
on the opposite side of our Hemisphere, issues through the passage called 
the North-Strait, situated between the most easterly extremity of Asia and 
the most westerly of America. It descends into the South-Sea where it is 
re-united to the first branch, which then foi*ms, as has been said, the wes- 
terly monsoon of that Sea. Besides this branch which issues by the North- 
Strait, receives much less of the icy effusions than that of the Atlantic Ocean j 
because the deep bays which arc at tlie sources of that Ocean, and the con- 
tours of these same sources, which suiTound the Pole spirally, receive, as we 
have seen, the greatest part of the icy effusions of the North Pole, and pour 
them into the Atlantic Ocean 

The Ocean accordingly flows twice a year round the Globe, in opposite 
spiral directions, taking it's departure alternately from each Pole, and de- 
scribes on the Earth, if I may venture to say so, the same course which the 
Sun does in the Heavens. 

This Theory, I confidently affirm, is so luminous, tliat by means of it ?. 
multitude of difficulties may be resolved, which involve m much obscurity 
the journals of our Navigators. Froger, for example, says, that in Brasil the 
Currents come in conformity to the direction of the Sun ; that is, they run 
northward when he is in the northern signs of the Zodiac, and southward 
when he is in the southern signs. It is impossible assuredly to explain thi!< 
versatile effect from the pressure or the attraction of the Sun and of the 
Moon between tlie Tropics, as these two Luminaries never transcend their 
bounds, and always proceed in one direction, from East to West : but here 
is the solution. When this Current of Brasil runs to the South in our Win' 
ter, it is the general counter-cnrrent of the South Pole, which is then setting 
in to the North ; and when this Brasilian Current runs to the North in our 
S-ummer, it is tlie extremity of this same general Current which returns by 
Cape Horn. 

The same thing docs not take place respecting the Current in the Gulf of 
Guinea which is opposite, and which runs always to the East, though it be in 
precisely the same situation, for in our Winter this Current in the Gulf of 
Guinea is the extremity of the general Current of the South Pole, which re- 
turns by the Cape of Good-Hope, and which at that season sets in to the North 
along tlie coasts of Africa, from the thirtieth degree of South Latitude, as 
far as to the fourth degree of the same Latitude, according to the testimony 
of Dumpier. But this extremity of the general Current which sets in to the 
NoriJi, and which then takes it's departure from the fourth degree South ti; 
join the general Current, does not enter into the Gulf of Guinea, because of 
the prodigious retreat of that (Julf ; so that in this part only the Sea 
flows always to the East, conformably to the observation of all \frican Navi- 

Vol. I. 


I shall support llie principles of my Theory by well-authenticated facts,, 
supplied by Navigators of the highest credit. Hear what Dampier says of 
the Currents of the Ocean, in his Treatise of the Winds, pag'es 386 and 387. 

" Besides, it is certain that, universally. Currents change then.- coiu-ses at 
« certain seasons of tiie year : in the East-Indies, they run from East to West 
" one part of the year, and from West to East the other part. In the East- 
" Indies and in Giunea, they change only about the time of full Moon. But 
" this is to be understood of the parts of the Sea which are at no gi-eat dis- 
•' tance from the coast : not but that there are likewise very powerful Cm-- 
" rents in the great Ocean which arc not subjected to these laws ; but that is 
" not common. 

« On the coast of Guinea the Current sets in to the East, except at full 
'•■ Moon or about it. But to the South of the Line, from Loango up to 25 or 
" 30 degrees, it runs with the wind from South to North except toward fidl 

*' Moon. 

" To the East of the Cape of Good-Hope, from the thirtieth degi'ee to the 
" twenty-fourth South Latitude, the Current sets in to the East, from the 
" month of May to October, and the wind blows during that period from 
" West-South-West, or South-West ; but from October to May, when the 
" w^ind is between East-North-East and East-South-East, the Current sets in 
" to the West ; and this is to be understood of five or six leagues distance 
" from land up to fifty, or thereabout ; for at five leagvies from land there is 
" no CuiTcnt, but we have a tide ; and beyond fifty leagues from land, the- 
" Current entirely ceases, or becomes imperceptible. 

" On the coast of India, to the North of the Line, the Curi-ent runs with the 
" monsoon. But it does not change quite so soon sometimes by three weeks 
*' or more ; after that it changes no more till tlie mosoon is fixed in the op- 
" posite direction. For example, tlie v/estern monsoon commences about the 
"middle of April, but the Current docs not change till the beginning of May : 
" and the eastern monsoon commences about the middle of September, but 
** the Current changes not till the beginning of October." 

JJampier seems to ascribe the cause of Currents to the winds, which 
he calls Monsoons. But this is not the proper place for investigating the 
cause of tlic atmospheric revolution, which however likewise depends on the 
I'oles, whose Atmospheres are more or less dilated in Winter and in Sum- 
mer, and whose revolutions must precede those of the Ocean. I shall confine 
my attention at present to the retardation of the westerly Current, which doe.'^ 
not affect the Indian Ocean till the month of May, in order to demonstrate, 
liiat it is the same wliich takes it's departure from our Pole in the month of 
March, and wiiich takes place in various regions of India at eras proportional 
to the distance of the poi .t from which it sets out. 

This Current arrives then toward the month of April at the Cape of Good- 
Hope ; and this it is which renders the passage round the Cape so difficult to 
vessels returning from India in Summer. I shall once more support myself 
on this gi-ound by the authority of Dampier, in his Voyage Hound the World, 
vol. ii. chap. 14. This was on his return from India to Eui'ope. 

" AVe lost time in trying to reach the Cape, which we .could not make till 
" the month of October or November ; and it was now only the end of March. 
" In fact, it is not usual to make the Cape after the tenth of May." In addi- 


lion to tliis, the Dutch East-India Company do not permit their ships to re- 
main there later than the month of March, because from that period the 
Winds and the Currents steadily set in from the West, which drive the ship- 
ping on the coast : hence we see that this Cm-rent, which comes from the 
West, in doubling' the Cape, arrives there in the montli of April. 

From the preceding passage, in Dampier's Treatise on Winds, v.e have seen 
that this westerly CuiTent reached the coasts of India toward the middle of 
May : I shall produce anotlicr authority to prove that it reaches about the 
middle of June, the island of Tinian, wljich is much farther to the East. I 
extract it from insult's Voyage, chap. 14 ; in the year 1742, on the subject of 
tlie island of Tinian. " The only good anclioring ground for large ships is oil' 
" tlie South-West part of the island. Tlie bottom of this road is filled with 
" rocks of coral, very sharp-pointed. It is unsafe to anchor there from the 
" middle of June to the middle of October, which is the season of the -westerly 
*' monsoons ,- and the danger is farther inci'eased by tiie extraoi'dinary rapidity 
" of the current of the tide which sets in to the Sotith-West between this island 
" and that of Agnigan. During the other eight months of the year, the 
" weather there is steady." Observe, by the way, that while the monsoon or 
the current comes from the West, tlie tide bears in a contrary direction be- 
tween those two islands ; vvlidch is a confirmation of what we have said, that 
tides are for tlic most part only the counter-currents of general Currents 
forced tlirough narrow straits. 

It is accordingly evident that this Current, which leaves our Pole in March, 
reaches tlie Cape of Good-Hope in April, the coast of India in May, the island 
of Tinian by the middle of June ; and that it traces round the Globe the spi- 
ral line which I have indicated. It might be possible to calculate tlie velocity 
by the time employed in running over these several distances, and in reach- 
ing the other points of Latitude, till it gets up with Cape Horn, from which it 
sets into the North as far as Cape St. Augustin, wliere it meets the general 
Atlantic Current toward the end of July. But the detail of so many curious 
circumstances would carry nic too far. 

In no one respect is it possible to ascribe the general Cun-ents of the Indian 
Ocean, which, as has been said, set in for six months to the East and six 
months to the West, to the attraction or pressure of the Sun and of the Moon, 
between the Tropics ; for these Orbs move invariably in one direction, and 
their action is the same at all times, witliin the extent of that Zone to which 
their motion is restricted. Resides, if their action were the cause of it, when 
tlie Sun is to the North of tlie Line, the westerly monsoon ought to be felt on 
the coasts of India as early as the month of Marcli, for tlio Sun is then nearly 
in the Zenith of the Indian Ocean ; but it becomes not perceptible till six 
weeks after, that is till the month of May. 

(Jn the contrary, when the Sun is to the South of Uic Line, and at the 
greatest distance from the Indian Ocean, the Monsoon takes place there a 
little after our autumnal Equinox, that is, in tlie month ot October. Hence it 
is evident that these revolutions of the Indian Ocean have not their focuses 
under the Equator, but at the Poles ; and that the revolution of the month of 
March, which proceeds from the North by the West, takes six weeks to ren- 
tier itself perceptible in India, because of the vast circuit which it is obliged 
!0 make round Uie Cape of Good-Hope ; whereas that of the South Pole, 


which commences in the month of September, arrives much sooner, betauhO 
it has no circuit to make ; and finally, that the era of these versatile revolu- 
tions commences precisely at the Equinoxes, that is, the very moment when 
the Sun withdraws from the one Pole on his way to warm the otlier. 

It is manifest therefore that the half-yearly and alternate Currents of the In- 
dian Ocean derive their origin from the half-yearly and alternate fusions of 
the ices of the North and South Poles ; and that their direction from East to 
West, and from West to East, is determined in this Ocean by the very pro- 
jection of the Continent of Asia. 

The Atlantic Ocean lias in like manner two half-yearly and alternate Cur- 
rents which have the same origin, but one natural direction from North to 
South, and from South to North, though with some deviation from West to 
East and fi-om East to West, by the very projection of the Atlan-ic channel 
Oui- Navigators go on the supposition that in this channel there is but one 
perpetual Current, which in our Hemisphere always runs from South to 
North. Into this mistake they have been led by the course of the tides, 
which m fact always do set in to the North along our coasts and those of Ba- 
hama, but especially by our asti'onomical system, which ascribes all the 
movements of the Ocean to the action of the Moon between the Tropics. 

How many errors may one single prejudice introduce into the elements of 
human Lnovvledge ! It blinds even the most enlightened of Mankind to such 
a degi-ee, as to make them resist the clearest evidence, and to reject for a 
long series of ages, the experience which every year is accumulating. 

I have collected from a multitude of Sea Voyages, and principally from 
tliose which Captain Cook performed round the World, with equal sagacity 
and intelligence, a great variety of nautical observations, which demonstrate, 
that the Currents of the Atlantic Ocean are alternate and half-yearly, like 
those of the Indian Ocean. Nevertheless the very persons who made and who 
relate these observations, misled by the prejudice that the action of the Moon, 
lietween the Tropics alone communicates motion to the Seas, and unable to 
reconcile their Currents with the course of that Luminar)-, deduced only this 
conclusion, that they were naturally irregular, and their cause inexplicable. 

Had they adhered to their own experience, which assured them tliat these 
Currents changed twice every year ; that in the Indian Ocean they run for six 
months in the same direction with the course of the iMoon, and six months 
directly opposite to it ; and in the Atlantic Ocean in directions which have no 
relation whatever to the course of that Star ; that they are much more rapid 
as you approach the Poles than between the Tropics, under the very gravita- 
tion of the iMoon ; and finally, that they diverge from the Pole that is heated 
by the Sun toward that which he has deserted ; they would then have refer- 
red the causes of these variations to the Summer and Winter of each Ilemis. 
phere ; and they v.ould have dissipated in part that cloud of error with which 
our pretended Sciences have veiled the operations of Nature. 

Though these nautical observations arc dpcisivc as to myself, for they have 
been made by pnlightencd partisans of the Astronomical System, which they 
totally subvert, while they confirm the truth of my Theor3s I shall however 
quote tv/o still more curious, more authentic, and more impartial than all the 
others, because they have not been picked up by men bred to the Sea, and 
.vhq ccnseqiientlv Jiavc ucllher the prejudices nra- the syslems of the profe*- 



feion. The one has the inhabitants of a whole kingdom to vouch for him ; and 
the other one of the most terrible epochas of the naval History of Europe ; 
and both of them wonderfully confirm one of the most agreeable harmonies 
of the vegetable History of Nature, the elements of which I have presented in 
the emigration of plants. 

I'rom the first of these observations we shall demonstrate, that the Atlan- 
tic Current comes in fact from the South, and sets in northward, as Naviga- 
tors believe, but this only during our Winter. It is accordingly produced in 
tills direction, by the eftusion of the ices of the South Pole, which in oui- Win- 
ter flow toward the North ; and not by the action of the Moon between the 
Tropics, according to our Astronomers, because at that very season the Navi- 
gators of the Southei'n Hemisphere have found beyond the Tropics this same 
Current coming from the South, which assuredly could not take place if this 
Current were produced by the action of the Moon on the Equator ; for on 
this hypothesis, it would flow in a contrary direction in the Southern Hemis- 
phere. But this is by no means the case, as I am able to prove by the Jour- 
nals of Mel Tastnan, of Sampler, of Fraser, of Cook, 8cc. who found beyond 
the Tropics, in the Southern Hemisphere, this Current setting in from the 
South, but only during oiu' Winter. 

By the second of these observations we shall demonstrate, that the Atlan- 
tic CvuTent comes from the North, and sets in southward in ovu* Hemisphere, 
contrary to the opinion of Navigators, but only during Summer. Of conse- 
quence it then proceeds directly from the effusions of the ices of the North 
Pole, which in our Summer flow toward the South ; and It evidently destroys 
by this direction toward the Equator, the pretended action of the Moon be- 
tween the Tropics, whicli, according to our Astronomers, impresses on the 
Ocean a motion toward both Poles. 

The first of these observations is related by Mr. Thomas Pennant, a well- 
informed English Naturalist, unfettered by prejudice and by system, at least 
as far as this important subject Is concerned. It is extracted from his Vov- 
Kge, in 1772, to the Hebrides, small Lslandson the West of Scotland.* " But,'" 
says this enlightened Traveller, " what is more real and more worthy of at- 
" tentlon is this, that there are frequently found here (on the island of Hay) 
" on the coast of all the Hebrides and Orkney Islands, the seeds of the plants 
" which grow in Jamaica and the adjacent islands ; such as those of the do- 
" lichos nrens, ffuilandina bonduc, bonducettu, the mimosa scandens of Linnxur. 
" These seeds, which arc called Molucca beans, grow on the banks of the 
" rivers of Jamaica ; and thence wafted along by the westerly winds and cur- 
" rents, which predominate ibr two-thirds of the year in that part of tlie At- 
" lantlc, they ai-e driven even to the shores of the Hebrides. The same thing 
•' sometimes happens to the turtles of America, which arc cauglit alive on 
" these coasts ; and this is put beyond the reacli of doubt, since tliere was 
" found on the coast of Scotland a part of the mast of the Tilbury man of war, 
" which took fire and was burnt near Jamaica." 

Mr. Pennant has neglected to inform us at what season those seeds and 
those tiu-tles reach the western coast of Scotland. Such omission of date?? 
is an essential defect, though very common with Travellers, who frequentl}' 

• Printed at Geneva in 1785, in a Collection of Voyages and Travels to the Mountains and Islands 
of Scotland ; Parii, Kyon senior, 2 vo^s. 8vo. vol. 1. pages 316 and 217. 


neglect those of even theii' own particular obsei*vatfons. It is only however 
by means of these dates that we ai'e enabled to take a glimpse of the com- 
bined harmonies of Nature. What shall we think then of the taste of our 
Compilers of Voyages and Travels, who retrench these as tedious and unim- 
portant circumstances ? It is easy to sec notwithstanding, in the present case, 
that the seeds from the rivers of Jamaica and tiie turtles of America arrive 
in Winter on the coasts of the Hebrides and of the Orkneys being driven 
tliither, according to Mr. Pennant, by the " westerly winds and currents," 
which " predominate there," says he, " two-thirds of the year." 

Now it is well known tlxat tlie westerly winds blow there all the Winter 
through, which is confirmed in this relation by it's own proper testimony, and 
in the same Collection by other Travellers to Scotland. After all it cannot 
possibly be the West-wind which wafts those seeds and those tortoises so far 
from Jamaica northward. The winds have no hold of bodies level with tlie 
surface of the water, and assuredly those from the West could not drive them 
to the North. Nay, Currents from the West could not possibly produce this 
effect, for they would hurl them to the East ; and as Jamaica is about 18 de- 
grees to the North of tlie Line, these seeds and tortoises would be driven 
ashore on the coast of Africa of the same Latitude, and not in the 59th degree 
North on tlie coasts of the Hebrides and Orkneys, where in fact they do come 

The Current therefore which wafts them along proceeds in a northern di- 
rection, tending a little toward the East precisely as the Atlantic channel it- 
"ielf does in that part of it. Accordingly the important observations of the 
inhabitants of Scotland on the subject of the gi'ains of the Island of Jamaica, 
of the turtles of America, and of a fragment of the mast of the Tilbiiry tlirowa 
upon their coasts, incontestibly prove that the Atlantic Current comes from 
the South and sets in to the North, as Navigators arc disposed to believe. But 
It has this direction only in our Winter 5 for I am going to demonstrate by 
another observation no less curious, that in Summer, and in the same Lati- 
tudes, the Atlantic Current comes from the North and sets in to the South, 
in direct opposition to the pretended action of the Moon between the Tro- 
pics and to the contrary opinicm of Navigatoi's. But I ought not to say opinion, 
for they have not a well-informed opinion on the subject. 

We have already produced the testimony of the most respectable northern 
N'avigators, who unanimously bear witness that the Atlantic Current comes 
from the North and sets in to the South in Summer in it's northern exti-emi- 
ty : such are tliose of Ellis, of Barents, of Linsdioten, &c. who having navi- 
gated in Summer toward the vicinity, of the arctic polar Circle, attest that 
ihe Cun-ents and even the tides have a soutlierly direction, and descend from 
ihe North, or at most from tlie North West or Nortli East, accordinf to the 
bearing of the bays into which they are penetrated. 

We have besides adduced in support of this important truth the testimony 
of the Navigators of North-America, quoted by Denis, Governor of Canada, 
who attests that the Currents of the North annually convey in Summer toward 
tlie South long banks of floating ices of a very considerable depth and eleva- 
tion, whicli run a-ground so far to the South as the banks of Newfoundland ; 
and finall}-, we have quoted the observation of Christopher Columbus, who in a 
much more southern Latitude, nay approaching to tlie Tropic of Cancer, 


found by experience in September, tliat tlie middle of the Atlantic channel 
run southward, and consequently descended from the North. To these autho- 
rities we miglit subjoin those of a multitude of other Navigators, who paid 
attention only to the driving of their ships, and were convinced in Summer 
of the existence of this northern Current without daring to admit it, or ven- 
turing to oppose their own experience to an Astronomical System which had 
got into vogue. 

But that I may omit nothing relative to a subject so essential to Naviga- 
tion and to the Study of Nature, and in order to remove every possibility of 
doubt as to the existence of this northern Current in Summer, we shall confine 
ourselves to a single observation, but connected with a well-known historical 
event. This observation is the less liable to suspicion that it is related with- 
out an intention to favour any one System, by a Traveller who was neither 
Mariner nor Naturalist, and who deduced no other consequences from it ex- 
cept those which concerned his fortune and his liberty. II is that of Soncfm 
tie Rennefort, Secretary to the Supreme Council of Madagascar, on leaving 
tlic Azores the 20th of June, 1666, at that time on his return to Europe. 
History of the East-Indies, book iii. chap. 5. 

" From 40 degrees," says he, " up to 45, we saw broken masts, sail-yai'ds, 
" and round-tops of ships, which awakened an apprehension that some dread- 
" fill naval disaster had taken place. We were not a little afraid that these 
*' fragments might have run foul of one of our convoy, a vessel of considerable 
" burden called tlie Virgin, an old crazy ship and veiy leaky. It has been 
" since ascertained that tliis wreck was occasioned by the naval engagement 
" which took place between the French and Duich on one side and the Eng- 
•' lish on the other. It would have been a happiness to those concerned to 
" have known this sooner." 

In fact the vessel on board of which liennefort was, axiii. to whom it was. 
unknown that France and England were at war, had the misfortune to be- 
taken and sunk by an English frigate, as far up the channel as Guernsey, ten 
days after this observation, tliat is the 8th of July. 

This liorrible devastation, scattered over the Ocean through a space of 
three degrees, or 7S leagues, was the eftect of the most obstinate and bloody 
<-ombat that ever took phice on that element between the English and tlu- 
Dutch. It begun tlie 11th of June, and lasted four days. The English fleet 
consisted of 85 ships of war, and the Dutch fleet of 90, commanded by Dr 
Rnytev. There were 21 thousand men nearly on each side and 4,500 pieces 
of cannon. In that engagement the English lost 23 ships, most of which 
were burnt or sunk, and the Dutch only 4 ; but there was scarcely a ship 
which did not lose her masts in whole or in pait. Nine thousand men nearly 
perislied on both sides. The Historians of each Nation as usual exalted the 
glory of 1 heir own fleet up to the skies. One thing is certain, that nine thou- 
sand human bodies mutilated and half burnt, given up to sharks and sca-dog.s, 
presented to the monsters of the deep the spectacle of a ferocity which has no 
example except in the aimals of tlic Human Kacc ; and that tliis prodigious 
number of roimd-tops, sai!-y:u'ds, and masts, floating about, mixed with fiagsi 
bearing red crosses and white crosses, must have conveyed some information 
to the Uarbariaus of all Uie Southern regiouu of the Atlantic Ocean, in what 


manner the Powers who pretend to be subjected to the laws of Jesvs Christ 
settle their quarrels.* 

» These wrecks were undoubtedly canied farllior than the Azores. It is probable tliat at Uiis sea- 
son a considerable part of them floated as far as tiie coasts and the western islands of Africa. Now 
the ground of this quarrel between England and Holland was precisely the African Slave-Tradc. 
Those powers had commenced hostilities the year before on the coasts of Guinea and at the Cape^le- 
Verd Islands, to the iniin of these Countries. I suppose therefore that those awful monuments of the 
battle ofTOstend, must have passed through the Cape-de-Verd Islajids near to Uiat of St. John, which 
IS so little frequented by Europeans that the Portngueze caU it Brava, or saragc. It's good and lios- 
pitable iidiabitants, accoi-ding to an English Navigator of the name of Roberts, who had a most de. 
lightful opportunity )f putting these amiable qualities to the test, are so humble, that they look on 
men of their own colour as subjected by the authority of GOD himself to the yoke of white men. Iii 
this opinion they are confirmed b} observing the bahince of European commerce, one of the beams of 
which presents to Europe benefits only, while the other, weighed down by calamities, continually 
presses on wretched Africa. 

But when from the summit of their rocks, under the shade of their cotton-trees and of their plan- 
tains, they beheld along tlieir peaceful shores this frightful train of masts, yards, g-alleries, poojB, 
prows, half burnt, stained witli human blood, and intermingled with European standaitls, they then 
saw the scale loaded with tlie miseries of Africa rise for a moment, and the other in it's turn sink with 
an oppressive weight on Europe ; and from this re-action of calamity they undoubtedly perceived 
that an universal Justice governs by equal laws all the Nations of the Globe. 

A King of France, it has been said, ordered the bodies of malefaciors to be thrown into the rive?, 
marked with this dismal inscription : Let the Kinfs Justice pass. The Chinese and Japanese punish 
in the same manner the pirates who infest the navigation of their rivers. Thus tlie wrecks of these 
ships of war, which had so often scattered terror over the Atlantic Ocean, were hurried along by it's 
Currents ; and their enormous bulging hulks, blackened by the fire, reddened with human blood, and 
become a sport to the billows of Africa, spoke much more distinctly than any inscription could to the 
oppressed inhabitants of those shores : Behold noiu, 0, ye black jnen ! the fi/ory of the IVhites, and thi 
Justice of COD, passing along. 

It would be a calc\ilation worthy, I do not say of our modem Politicians, wlio no longer set a value 
on any thing in the World, except gold and power, but ol'a friend of humanity, to ascertain. Whether 
the Negro Slave-Trade has not occasioned as many woes to Europe as to Airica ; and what are th* 
benefits of which it has been productive to these two divisions of the Globe. 

In the first place it would be necessary to take into the account of the calamities of Africa the wars 
which it's Potentates wage with each other, in oi-der to find a supply of slaves to answer the demand 
of European traders ; the barbarous despotism of it's Sovereigns, who for the attainment of tliis object 
deliver up their own subjects ; the unnaturally degraded character of their subjects, who, after their 
example, frequently drag to these inhuman markets tlieir wives and their children ; the depopulation 
of most of the maritime countries of Africa, reduced to a desert by the emigration of their inhabitant:; 
who have been sweeped away into slaveiy; the mortality of a very considerable proportion of these 
wretches, who perish on their passage to America and the West-Indies, by unwholesome tbod and th« 
scurvy, excessive labour, scantiness of provisions, the merciless whii)pings and other punishments 
■which tliey are doomed to endure in our Colonies, and which destroy the greatest part with miseryi 
mortification and desjiair. 

Here undoubtedly is a sad detail of tears and bloodshed on the African side cf the account. But it 
is balanced at least by an equal train of evils on that of Europe : if you state on this side the very na- 
vigation of the coast of Africa, the con-uptcd air of which cames off the seamen of our trading ves- 
sels by whole crews at once, as well as the garrisons of our settlements on the coast and up the coun- 
try, by the dysentery, the scurvT, putrid fevers, aiMl especially by a lever peculiar to the coast of 
Guinea, which brings the stoutest man to his grave in three days. To these physical evils may be 
added the moral maladies of Slavery, which destroj- in our American Colonies the VC17 first feelings of 
humanity ; because wherever there are slaves, tyi-ants spring up, together with the influence of this mo- 
ral depravation upon Europe. Add to the evils of this quarter of the World the resources in tlie field- 
employments of America, from which our own commoruilty and peasantrj- are excluded, multitudes of 
whom arc langiii^hingat home in wretchedness for want of employment and of the means of subsis- 
tence ; the wars which the Slave-trade kindles among the maritime Pcrners of Europe, tlieir settle- 
ments taken and retaken ; their naval engagements, which sweep away nine thousand men at a 
stroke, without reckoning those who are maimed for life ; their wars which like a pestilence are com. 
inimicated to the interior of Europe by their alliances, and to the rest of the World by their conv 
r.ierce ; when all Uuse are taken into the statement, it must be allowed that the amount of Europca-i» is a com]>lvte balance to tliose of Afriea, 


These A\Tecks scattered over 75 leagues of Sea, came from abo»it twelve- 
miles to the North-West of Ostend, where this naval combat was fought, and 
were carried as far as the Azores, which Renneforfs squadron was leaving 
when he fell in with them. Ostend is about 51 degrees North, and the Azores 
about 40, and far to the West. 

The first of those wrecks were put in motion from the North-west of Os- 
tend on the 11th of June, which is the date of the beginning of the engage- 
ment, conformably to De Rvyter's letter and the History of France, and they 
were found near the Azores by the 20th of the same month at farthest, as 
must be concluded from the relation of Rennefort, thougli the date of every 
day in particular is not inserted. The Currents from the North had accord- 
ingly wafted them along in nine days more than 275 leagues to the South ; 
without taking into the account the considerable progress which had been 
made to the westward, on the whole amounting to much more than 34 leagues 
a day. 

It was not the wind sure which hurried those fragments toward the South- 
West with so much rapidity : the prevailing wind at that season was contrary 
to them. Rennefort'' s squadron, which had just met them, were sensible of 
no other wind but that which was carrying tliem to the North-East ; and De 
Riiyter in his dispatches makes mention only of the South-West winds which 
blew during the engagement. Besides, as has been formerly observed, What 
hold could the winds have of bodies level with the water ? Much less could 
they have been carried southward by the tides which then set in to the Noitli 
on our coasts : it must have been therefore a direct Current from the North 
xvliich carried them to the South even in opposition to the tides, and some- 
what to the West by the direction of the Atlantic channel. Tlie Atlantic 
Current therefore sets in to the South in Summer, nolwithstaedijig the pre- 
tended action of the Moon between the Tropics ; and it's course at that sea- 
son can be ascribed only to the melting of the northern polar ices. 

These two observations so authentic farther confirm a position elsewhere 
laid down, that islands are placed at the extremities of curi'ents. Ijinschoten, 
who had sojourned at the Azores, remarks that the fragments of most of the 
shipwrecks suffered in the Atlantic Ocean are thrown upon thajr coasts. The 
same thing happens on the shores of the Bermudas, on those of Barbadoes, 
8iC. These floating bodies ai'e wafted to prodigious distances regularly and 

As to the balance of benefits, it is reduced on boili sides to a ver>' naiTow compass. It is impossible 
with a good conscience to enumerate among the blessings which the inliahitants of Africa derive from 
the sale of their compatriots, our iron sabres with which tjiey mangle each other, our wretched fire- 
locks, with which they contrive to knock one another on the he:i(l, and our ardent spirits which de- 
stroy their reason and their health : the whole then is reduced in their favour nearly to a few paltry 
miiTors and tinkling bells. 

With respect to Uie benefits derived from this trade to Europe, there is sugar, coffee, and cotton, 
with which America and its Islands supply us by means of the labour of negro slaves ; but these rude 
and formless productions can stand no manner of comparison with the pertecfed manufiiclures and 
the crops ofevcry kind which might be derived from the same fields by free, happy, and intelligent 
£iiro(iean cultivators. 

It appears to me that if tliis balance of evils so oppressive and of benefits so trivial were presented 
to the maritime and Christian Powers of Euro|>e, they would discover at length that it is not suffi- 
cient to have banished Slavery from their own territories in order to render their subjects industrious 
and liappy ; but that they must likewise proscribe it in tlieir Colonies for the sake of these very sub- 
jcclj themselves, for that of the Huraao Race, and for the glory of their Religion. 

Vol. I. f 


alternately as the CuiTents of the Ocean themselves are. The seeds of the 
islands of Jamaica are accordingly conveyed in Winter as far as the Orkneys, 
that is more than 1060 leagues from South to Nortli, and a distance of more 
than 1800 leagues by the flux of the South Pole ; and beyond a doubt the 
fluviatic seeds of the Oikneys are carried along in Summer to the shores of 
Jamaica by the flux of the North Pole. 

The self-same correspondencies must subsist between the vegetables of 
Holland and of the Azores. I am not acquainted with any of the seeds pecu- 
liar to the rivers of Jamaica ; but I am absolutely certain that they possess 
the nautical characters which I have observed in those of aU fluviatic plants. 
Here then is a new confirmation of the vegetable harmonies of Nature found- 
ed on the emigration of plants. It may be likewise applied to the emigra- 
tion of fishes, which pursue such long and winding directions through the 
open Sea, guided unquestionably by the floating seeds of fluvia ic plants, for 
which they have in all countries a decided preference of taste, and which 
Nature produces on the banks of rivers particularly, with a view to tlieir 

Ii appears to me possible for Mankind, by means of tlie alternate Currents 
of the Ocean, to maintain a regular mutual correspondence free of all expense 
over all the maritime countries of the Globe. It might perhaps be possible 
by these means to turn to very good account those vast forests which cover 
the northern districts of Europe and of America, consisting mostly of fir, and 
which rot on the face of those deserted lands, without producing any benefit 
to Man. They might be committed in Summer in well -compacted floats, 
fij-st to the current of the rivers, and afterward to that of the Ocean, which 
would convey them at least to the Latitude of our coasts which are stripped 
of planting, as the course of the Rhine pours every year into Holland prodi- 
gious rafts of oak felled in vhe forests of Germany. The wrecks of the naval 
engagement oft Ostend, conveyed with such rapidity as far as tlie Azores, 
discover in some degree the extent of the resources which Natui'e offers to 
supply in this way. 

Geography might likewise make this a source of many future useful and 
important discoveries. To the effect of those Currents is Christopher Column 
bus indebted for the discovery of America. A simple reed of foreign growth 
thrown on the western coasts of the Azores suggested to that great Man the 
probability of the existence of another Continent to the West. He farther 
thought of availing himself of the Currents of the Ocean on his return from 
his first voyage to America ; for, being in imminent danger of perishing in a 
storm amidst the Atlantic Ocean, without having it in his power to inform 
Europe, which had so long slighted his services and derided his enlightened 
theory, that he had actually at length found out a New World, he inclosed 
the History of his discovery in a cask, which he committed to the waves, con- 
fident that sooner or later it would reach some shore. 

A common glass bottle might preserve such a deposit for ages on the sur- 
face of the Deep, and waft it repeatedly from Pole to Pole. It is not for the 
sake of our haughty and unfeeling Academicians, who refuse to see any thing 
in Nature which they have not imagined in their closet, it is not for them that 
I thus dweU on the detaU and the application of these oceanic harmonies ; 
no, it is for your sake, unfortunate mariners ! It is from the mitigation of the* 


woes to which your profession exposes you that I one day expect my noblest 
and most durable recompense. One day, perhaps, a wretched individual of 
your description, shipwrecked on a desert island, may inti'ust to the Currents 
of the Seas the sad task of announcing to the habitations of Men the news of 
his disaster, and of imploring assistance. Some Ceyx, perhaps, perishing 
amidst the tempests of Cape Horn, may charge them to waft his expiring 
farewell ; and the billows of the Southern Hemisphere may speed the tender 
sigh to the shores of Europe, to soothe the anguish of some future Alcj'one. 

After the facts which I have just detailed, it is no longer possible to doubt 
that the Indian and Atlantic Oceans have their sources in the half-yearly and 
alternate fusions of the ices of the South and North Poles, as they have half- 
yearly and alternate Currents perfectly corresponding to the Summer and 
Winter of each Pole. These CuiTents, it may well be believed, flow with 
much greater velocity than the floating bodies on their surface. There is 
produced at the Equinoxes a retrogressive impulsion in the whole mass of 
their waters at once, as appcws at those eras from the universal agitation of the 
Ocean in all Latitudes. This total and almost instantaneous subversion can- 
not possibly be produced by the operation of the Moon and of the Sun, which 
proceed always in one direction and are constantly confined within the Tro- 
pics : but, as I have again and again repeated, it is produced by the heat of 
the Sun, which then passes almost instantaneously from the one Pole to the 
other, melts the frozen Ocean which covers it, communicates by the eflTusion 
of it's ices new sources to the fluid Ocean, opposite directions to it's cur- 
rents, and inverts the preceding preponderancy of it's waters. 

Much less is it possible to deduce, as has been done, the cause of the tides 
from the action of the Sun and of the Moon upon the Equator ; for if this 
were so, they must be much more considerable between tlie Tropics near to 
the focus of their movements than any where else ; but this is by no means 
the case. Hear what Dumpier says respecting the tides on the coasts of India 
near the Equator, in his Treatise on the Winda, page 37^. 

" From Cape Blanc on the coasts of the South-Sea, from the third to the 
" thirtieth degree of South Latitude, the flux and reflux of the Sea is only a 

" foot and a half, or at most two feet The tides in the East-Indies rise very 

" little, and are not so regular as with us, that is in Europe :.. They rise," 

says he in another place, " to four, or at most five feet." He afterwai-ds in- 
forms us that the highest tide which he ever observed on the coast of New 
Holland did not take place till three days after the full or new Moon. 

The weakness and the very considerable retardation of these Tides be- 
tween the Tropics evidently demonstrate therefore, that the focus of their 
movements is not under the Equator ; for if it were so, the tides would be 
tremendous on the coasts of India which are in it's vicinity, and parallel to it : 
l)Ut their origin is near the Poles, where they I'ise in fact from twenty to 
iwenty-five feet near Magellan's Strait, according to S'lv Jolm J^Tarborcv^h, 
and to a hciglit equally considerable at the enti-ance of Hudson's Bay, if we 
may believe Ellis. 

Let us make a brief recapitulation. The tides are the half-daily effusions 
of the ices of one of the Poles, just as the general Currents of the Ocean are 
it's half-yearly efl'usions. There are two general opposite Currents annually, 
because the Sun warms by turns in the course of one year the southern and 


northern Hemispheres ; and there are two tides every day, because the Sun 
varms by turns every twenty-four hours the eastern and the western side of 
the Pole that is in fusion. The same effect exactly is visible in many lake:< 
situated in the vicinity of icy movmtains, which have currents and a flux and 
reflux in the day-time only. But it cannot admit of doubt, that if the Sun 
warmed during the niglit the other side of those mountains, they would pro- 
duce likewise another flux and reflux in tlieir lakes, and consequently two 
tides in twenty-four hours as in tlie Ocean. 

The retardation of the tides of the Ocean, which is about twenty-four mi- 
nutes the one from the other, arises from the daily diminution of the diame^ 
ter of the icy cupola of the Pole in fusion. Accordingly the focus of the tides 
is removing farther and fiirther from our coasts. If their intensity is such, 
according to Sotigucr, that om* evening tides are the strongest in Summer, it 
is because they are the diurnal effusions of oiu* Pole, produced by the heat of 
the day in the sultry season. If at that season they are less strong in the 
morning than in the evening, it is because they are the noctui'nal effusions 
which come from the other part of the Pole, and dischai'ge themselves into 
the sources in the spiral direction of the Atlantic Ocean, but in a smaller 

If, on the contrary, at the end of six months the strongest tides, that is 
those of the evening become the weakest ; and the weakest, that is those of 
the morning, become the strong-est ; it is because they are then produced by 
the action of the Sun on the South Pole, and the cause being opposite the 
effects must be so likewise. If the tides are stronger one day and a half, or 
two days after the full Moon, it is because that Luminary increases by her 
heat the polar effusions, and consequently the quantity of water in the Ocean. 
The Moon possesses a degi'ce of heat which not only evaporates water, as 
was ascertained by recent experiments at Rome and at Paris, but which 
melts the ices, as Plinij relates, in conformity to the observations of Antiqui- 
t}'. " The Moon produces thaw, resolving all ices and frosts by the humidity 
" of her influence." J\'atiiral History, Book li. ch:ip. 101. Finally, if the tides 
are more considerable at the Equinoxes than at the Solstices, it is because, 
as has been observed, at the Equinoxes there is the greatest possible mass of 
Avater in the Ocean, for the greatest part of the ices of one of the Poles is 
then melted, and those of the opposite Pole then begin to dissolve. 

We are not to imagine that every tide is a polar effusion of the particular 
day when it hjippens ; but it is an effect of that series of polar effusions which 
perpetually succeed to each other ; so tliat the tide which takes place to-day 
on our coasts, is perhaps part of that which takes place it may be for six. 
weeks together ; and it's motion is kept up by those which flow every day 
in it's series. Thus in a row of balls placed on a billiard table, the first 
which receives an impulsion communicates it to the next, and that one to tlie 
following, and so through the whole series, and the last only is detached from 
the row by what remains of the moving force. But here too we must admire 
that other harmony which pervades the most remote effects of Nature : it is 
ihis, tliat the evening and morning tides take place on our coasts, as if they 
issued that very day from the higher and lower part of oui- Hemisphere ; and 
that tlie tides of Summer are precisely opposite to those of Winter, as thn 
Poles themselves from which thcv flow. 


1 could support tliis new theory by a multitude of facts, and apply it to 
most of the nautical phenomena which have hitherto been deemed inexplica- 
ble, but the time and the space left me forbid it. It is sufficient for me to 
have deduced from it the principal movements of the Seas. I was under the 
necessity of tracing the windings of this labyrinth with an application and 
labour of which the Header cannot easily form an idea. I have shewn him 
it's entrance and outlet, and present him with the clew. He will be able un- 
doubtedly to go much farther without my assistance. I can venture to assure 
him that, by taking advantage of these principles, in perusing journals and 
Sea voyages that pretend to any thing like exactness in dates and observa- 
tions, such as tliose of Mel Tasman, of JIugues, of Linschoten, of General 
Beanlieu, of Froger, of Frasev, of Dampier, of ElUa, &c. he will find a new 
light diffused over those passages of marine joui-nals, which are for the most 
part so dry and so obscure. 

Mad time and means been granted me to unfold this part of my subject, 
and to display it in all the luminous simplicity of which it is susceptible, I 
have the vanity to think that I could have rendered it in many other respects 
highly interesting. I would have procured a representation on two large 
solid globes of the two general Currents oT the Ocean in Winter and in Sum- 
mer, with arrows which should have expressed the exact intervals between 
one tide and another : and of their counter-currents, lateral to the passage 
of all straits, which produce on different shores tli£ counter-tides, half-daily, 
daily, weekly, lunary, and half-yearly. These counter-tides should have pro- 
duced others on the return at the passage of islands ; so that the Ocean would 
have been represented as a vast fluid issuing from each Pole to make the 
circuit of the Globe, and forming on it's shores a multitude of counter-cur- 
rents and counter-tides, all dependant on the effusions of one Pole singly. I 
should have employed for this purpose the best authenticated marine Jour- 

It would then have been evidently clear that the bays of Continents and 
even of islands arc sheltered from the genei'al Currents ; and I would have 
demonstrated, on the contrary, that the course and the direction of all rivers 
are adapted to those Currents and those tides of the Ocean, in order to acce- 
lerate them in certain places and to retard tliem in others, just as the coui'se 
of brooks and rivulets is itself adapted to the current of rivers, and for the 
same end. 

1 would have done more ; in order to vindicate Geography from the charge 
of dryness, and to unite the graces which all the kingdoms of Nature com- 
municate to each other, uistead of arrows I should have illustrated my sub- 
ject by figures more analogous to those Seas, and have added new proofs to 
the tlicory of those polar effusions, by a representation of several species of 
fishes of passage, which at certain seasons of tlic year resign tliemselves to 
their currents, in order to pass from the one Hemisphere to the other. 

This nuicli is certain, that the principal point of their union, as well from 
the one Pole as from the other, precisely is at the strait formed bj' Guinea 
and Urasil, where, as has been said, are formed those two great lateral coun- 
ter-currents whicli return toward the Poles. There is the rendezvous of the 
fishes from the Norlli Pole, and from the South. Herrings, whales, and 
mackerel, arc in Summer found in great abundance on tliose shores. Th( 


whales of the Xorth have formerly been so common at Brasil, that, accord- 
ing- to the report of Navig-ators, the fishery on it's coasts was farmed out, and 
produced a considerable revenue to the King- of Portugal. I know not how 
it may be at present : pei-haps the noise of Em-opean artillery may have chaced 
them away from those coasts. A very productive cod-fishery was likewise 
caiTied on there, known all over America by the name of the Brasil cod. 

On the other hand, according- to the testimony of Bosman, a Dutch Naviga- 
tor, who has published a very good account of Guinea, the whales of that 
species which is called JVorth-caper are found in great abundance on the 
coasts of Guinea. He alleges that they resort thither to bring forth their young; 
Artus has favoured us with a catalogue of the fishes of passage which appear 
on that coast during the different months of tlie year. Though it is very im- 
perfect, we are enabled by it to distinguish the fishes which are peculiar to 
each Pole. In the months of April and May it is a species of ray which rises 
to the surface of the water ; in June and July a sort of herring, in such quan- 
tities that the Negroes, on throwing among them a simple leaden weight at 
the extremity of a long line furnished with hooks, always draw up a consider- 
able number at every throw. During the same months they catch a great 
many lobsters, similar, sa3rs Artus, to those of Norway. 

In September innumerable legions and various species of mackerel arrive 
there. At that season too appears a kind a mullet, which, unlike all other 
fishes, who delight in silence, flock to noise. The Negroes avail themselves 
of this instinct as a means of catching them. They tie to a piece of wood sur- 
rounded with hooks a sort of cornet with it's clapper ; thus furnished it is 
thrown into tlie sea ; and the motion of the waves tossing about the cornet 
produces a certain noise, which attracts the fish in question, so that in at- 
tempting to lay hold of the piece of wood, they are themselves caught. Kind 
Natui-e accordingly thus furnishes to the poor Negroes a fisheiy adapted to 
their capacity and industry. 

This species of mullet appears from it's instinct destined to travel through 
turbulent seas and at noisy seasons, for he is visible only about the autumnal 
Equinox at the revolution of the seasons. But in the months of October and 
November those shores are crowded with fishes whose names and manners 
are unknown to Europe, and which seem to appertain to the South Pole, whose 
Currents are tlien in a state of activity. Such are a sea-pike or jack, the teeth 
of which are extremely sharp and the bite very dangerous : a species of sal- 
mon with white flesh and of an exquisite flavour : another called the star of 
the sea, a species of sea-dog, which has a very large jjead and throat in form 
of a warming-pan ; it is marked on the back with a cross : some of them ^vovc 
to such a size, that a single one is suflficient to load two or three canoes. In 
December arrive vast quantities of tlie korkofedo or moon-fish ; they appear 
likewise in June. The korkofedo seems to regulate his progress by the sol- 
stices. He is as broad as long, and is caught by a bit of sugar-cane fixed on 
a hook. The appetite which this fish has for the sugar-cane is another proof 
of the harmonies established between fishes and vegetables. Finally, in the 
months of Januaiy, February, and March, may be seen on the coast of Guinea 
a-species of small fish, with large eyes, which Artus supposes to be the ocii- 
f-u-t, or piscis ocukitus (eyed-fish) of I-'finv. This too is an inhabitant of the 


boisterous equinoctial Seas, for he frisks and jumps about with a great deal 
of no se. 

Had time permitted I would have extended these elementaiy concords to 
the different inhabitants of the departments of the Ocean. We should have 
seen, for example, the cause of the altemate transition of tui'tles, which for 
six months of the year take up their abode in certain islands, and which are 
found again six months after in other islands, seven or eight hundred leagues 
distant, putting it beyond the power of imagination to conceive how an am- 
phibious animal so sluggish and xmwieldy shouhi be able to make a passage 
so immense toward places which it is impossible she should perceive. We 
should liave seen their heavy-sailing squadrons committing themselves al- 
most without motion in the night time, to the general Current of the Ocean, 
coasting by moon-light the gloomy promontories of Islands, and seeking in 
their deserted creeks some sandy and tranquil bank, wlicre far from din they 
may undisturbedly deposit their eggs. 

Others, such as the mackerel, never fail to arrive at the accustomed season 
on other shores, conveyed by the s:ime currents, because then they are blind. 
" When the mackerel come to the coasts of Canada," says Denis, formerly 
Governor of that country, " they have not the least glimmering of sight. They 
" have a speck on their eyes which does not fall off till toward the end of 
" June ; tlienceforward they see and are caught by the line."* His testimo- 
ny is confirmed by other Navigators, though there was no necessity for it. 

Other fishes, such as herrings, expose their silvery legions to glitter in the 
Sun on the northern strands of Europe and America, shaded with firs, and 
advance forward and forward till they reach even the palm groves of the 
Line, forcing their way along the shoj-es, in opjjosition to the tides of the 
South, which are continually supplying them wiih fresh pasture. 

Others, as the thunny, make their way by favour of those very tides, and 
enter in the Spring into the Mediterranean, of whicli they make a complete 
circuit ; and though they leave no trace on their watery way, they do no^ fail 
to render themselves visible in the darkest night, by means of the phosphoric 
lights which their motion excites. It is by those same gleams of light thai 
we perceive in the night-time the turtle with their dusky colour on the sur- 
face of the waters. You would imagine that these animals, surrounded by 
liglit, had flambeaus affixed to their fins and tails. The phosphoric qualities 
accordingly of the sea-water are in unison even with the nocttu-nal voyages 
of fishes. 

The Sun is the grand mover in all these harmonies. Arrived at the Equi- 
nox, lie abandons one Pole to Winter, and gives to the other the signal of 
Spring, by the fires with which he environs it. The heated Pole pours out in 
every direction torrents of water and of melted ices into the Ocean, to which 
it sujiplies new sources. The Ocean then changes it's course ; it draws into 
it's general Current most of the fishes of the North toward tlie South ; and 
by it's lateral counter-currents, those of the South toward the North. It at- 
tracts others even from the Continent, by tlie alluvions of the land which the 
rivers disciiargc ; such arc the fishes with scales, as salmon, which love, in 
general, to make tlieir way upward against the course of river<; 

J^atnml J/istory of J^'orth- America, chap. ii. 


These floating legions are attended by innumerable cohorts of sea-fowls, 
which quit their natural climates, and hover around the fishes, to live at their 
expense. It is then that we find the sea-fowls of the South flocking to the 
shores of the North, as the pelican, the flamingo, the heron, the stork ; and 
those of the North finding their way to the South, as the lomb, tlie burgo- 
master, the cormorant. It is then that sands and shallows the most desert- 
ed, are crouded with inhabitants, and that Nature presents new harmonies on 
every shore. 

If the voyages of the inhabitants of the Seas would have diffused new light 
on the Currents of the Ocean, these same Currents would have furnished us 
with new light respecting the forms and manners of fishes, which have to us 
such an uncouth appearance. Most of these fishes cast their spawn in such 
abundance, that the Sea is frequently covered by it for several leagues to- 
gether. The currents carry off this spawn to prodigious distances ; and 
while the fathers and mothers unconcernedly indulge in tlie dalliance of love 
on the coast of Norway, their fry are hatching on those of Africa or Brasil. 

We sliould have seen these categories so wonderfully varied, of a configu- 
ration perfectly adapted to the different sites of the Ocean : some cut out into 
long sword-blades, like the African fish which bears that name, take pleasure 
in penetrating into the narrowest crevices of rocks, and in stemming the 
most rapid currents : others, equally flat, are cut into a circular form, with 
two long horns like sail-yards, issuing from the head, and inverted behind, to 
serve them as a helm, as the silvery moon-fish of the Antilles. These moon- 
fish are continually sporting among the billows which break upon the rocks, 
without a single instance beii.g known of any one thi-own ashore. Other 
fishes of a triangidar shape, and cut into the form of the chest whose name 
they bear, advance into the very middle of the slielvy ground upon the shore, 
where thei-e is scarcely any water, and display in the bosom of the dusky 
rocks, their blue shining robes, bespangled with stars of gold. 

While some, perpetually restless, scratch and scrape into every chink along 
the beech in quest of their prey ; others, in perfect tranquillity respecting 
their provision, remain immovable on a fixed station expecting it. Some, 
incrusted in lumpish habitations of stone, pave the gi-ound of the shores, as 
the helmet, the Iambi, and the thuilee ,- others, attached by threads to little 
pebbles, ride at anchor at the moutlis of rivers, as the muscle ; others glew 
themselves to each other, as the oyster ; others fix tliemselves as the heads 
of nails to the rock, to which they cling by suction, as the limpit ,- others bury 
tliemselves in the sand, as the harpe, the cockle, the knife -handle ; and most 
of the shell-fish whose exterior garments are clear and brilliant; others, as 
the lobster and the crab, armed with bucklers and corslets, lie in ambush 
among the stones, where they present to view only the extremities of their 
horns and their great claws. 

Had it been in my power, I would have studied the contrasts which those 
innumerable families form on tlie slime, and on the rocks, where their sliells 
sparkle with the fires of Aurora, and with the lustre of purple and of the 
iapis-lazuli. I would have described those sea-coloured regions, clothed with 
plants of an infinite variety of forms, which never receive Uie rays of the sun 
but through the medium of water. Their very valleys, where the currents 
gush with the rapidity of sluices, produce plants, elastic and perforated, such 


as the leaves of the sea-peacock, through the apertures of which the wrives 
pass as tlirough a sieve. I would have represented their rocks, rising from 
the depth of the abyss, like mounds incapable of being moved, with cavern- 
ous sides, presenting bristly beds of madrepores, and festooned with movea- 
ble garlands offucus, alga-marina, and other sea-weeds of all colours, which 
serve as shelter and bedding for the calves and horses of the Sea. 

During storms, their dark bases are covered with clouds of a phosphoric 
light ; and sounds unutterable, issuing from their untraceable mazes, invite 
to the prey the silent legions of the inhabitants of the mighty deep. I would 
have endeavoured to force my way into those palaces of the Nei'eids, in order 
to unveil mysteries hitherto concealed from the human eye, and to contem- 
plate, from afar, the footsteps of that infinite Wisdom which are impressed 
on the oozy bottom of the Ocean. But researches so laborious, though so de- 
lightful, of sxich importance to our fisheries, and so fertile of materials for 
"Natural History, far transcend the fortunes and the exertions of a Solitary. 

I have the confidence, however, to flatter myself with the belief, that the new 
Theory which I have presented, respecting the causes of the general Cur- 
rents, and of the Tides of the Ocean, may be rendered useful to Navigation. 
It appears to me, that a vessel taking her departure hence, in the month of 
March, with the course of our polar eflvisions, and keeping in the middle of 
the Atlantic channel, might proceed in Summer all the way to the East-Indies, 
continually favoured by tlie current. This I am able even to prove, by the 
experience of various Navigators. It is true that during the season which is 
the Winter of the South Pole, the weathering of the Cape is dangerous, be- 
cause the westerly monsoon, which then predominates in those Seas, excites 
in them frequent storms, as well as on the coasts of India, which are opposed 
to it ; but I believe tliese inconveniencies might be avoided, by stretching out 
into a higher Latitude. 

The same vessel might return from the East-Indies six months afterwards 
during our Winter, aided by the effusions of the South Pole. Advantage 
might be taken on the contrary of the counter-currents of the general Cur- 
rents, or of their lateral Tides to go or return at the intermediate seasons, by 
coasting along the Continents. It is easy to deduce from this Theory, other 
means of information for the Navigation of all Seas ; for example, assistance 
might be derived from those currents for the discovery of new islands ; for 
every island is situated at the extremity, or at the confluence of one or more 
currents, as every volcano is placed in a counter-tide. 

Here I close these nautical disquisitions, in which there are undoubtedlv, 
inaccuracies of style, and manifold imperfections of various kinds ; but de- 
termined by particular circumstances to bring this Work, without delay, be- 
fore the tribunal of the Public, I have hastened to present myCountiy with 
Uiis last testimony of my attachment. I reckon on the indulgence of the 
really intelligent, and presume to hope they will have the goodness to rectify 
my mistakes. 

Vol. I. cr 




(See Page xxii.) 

Furnished the Editor by Mr. Joseph Clay. 

The erroi- of Mr. Saint-Pierre arises from his supposing that the degrees 
of Latitude are measured by the angles formed at the centre of the earth by 
the semi-diameters of the meridian. This is not the case, the only mode of 
determining the Latitude is by observing at the surface of the earth the alti- 
tudes of the heavenly bodies either by means of double reflection as in God- 
frey's Octant, or as it is commonly called ffadley's Quadrant, or by means of 
gravitating lines as in the mural Quadrant and Sectors. 

The Latitude is computed from the angle made by a ray of light coming 
from the body observed, in the first case with a tangent to the meridian, and 
In the second with the line of direction in which a heavy body is attracted 
towards the earth. It is easily shewn that in the first instance the difference 
of the Latitude between two places on the same meridian is accurately mea- 
siu-ed by the angle formed by the perpendiculars to the two horizons, or what 
is the same thing, by the perpendiculars to the tangent to the meridian drawn 
through the two places. And it is demonstrated (vide Mac Laurin's Fluxions, 
vol. ii. art. 637. London Edition, 1801,) that the line of direction in which 
a heavy body, influenced both by the centrifugal and centripetal forces, 
gravitates to a spheroid is perpendicular to the surface of the spheroid, 
and consequently to a tangent to the generating ellipsis. The Latitude found 
in the latter case will therefore be precisely the same as in the former, and 
the difference of Latitude will in the same manner be measured by the angle 
formed by the perpendiculars to tlie tangents to the meridian, which is equal 
to the difference of the observed altitudes : This agrees with all the observa- 
tions made at Greenwich and elsewhere. It follows that the nearer the curve 
of a meridian approaches to a right line the ionger must be the pai-t of the 
ai-ch which subtends a given angle, for if the earth were a plane the perpen- 
diculars would be parallel, and no other difference would be found in the al- 
titudes of the same body observed at the same time, than that arising irom 
the difference of parallax. And of course the nearer the eartli approaches to 
a plane, the less will be the difference of altitude observed by two persons on 
the same meridian at any given distance from each other ; and consequently 
the degi-ees of Latitude must be longer as the earth is flatter. Independently 
of this consideration it is shewn by calculation that if a tangent be drawn to 
an ellipsis making an angle of forty -five degrees with each axis {seef^ure.) 


If the arch AL is longer than the arch LB, BC is ^eater than AC ; and if AC 
represent the semi-axis of the earth and BC the equatorial semi-diameter, LK 
a pei-pendicular to the tangent will form angles LKO, LMH equal to 45 de- 
grees, with AC and BC ; L will therefore represent a place in the Latitude 
of 45 degrees. Now it is found by actual measurement that, each degi-ee of 
the arch AL is greater than a degree of the arch BL, consequently the whole 
arch AL is greater than the whole arch BL ; BC is consequently greater than 
AC, and the Earth is an oblate Spheroid, (see Amer. Phil. Trans, vol. V. No. 


Tliis is further confirmed, if it wanted confirmation, from analogy, the 
same being the case with the other planets 





OME years have elapsed, since I formed the design of 
composing a general History of Nature, in imitation of Aris- 
totle^ Plini/y Chancellor Bacon, and several illustrious modem 
Authors. The field appeared to me so vast, that I could not 
believe the possibility of it's being entirely pre-occupied. Be- 
sides, Nature invites to the cultivation of herself, persons of 
every age and country ; and if she promises the golden harvest 
of discovery, only to men of genius, she reserves some glean- 
ings at least, for the simple and unlearned ; for such, especi- 
ally, as, like myself, are making a pause every step they ad- 
vance, transported at the beauty of her divine productions. 

I was farther prompted to the execution of my great design, 
in the view of rendering an acceptable service to my fellow - 
creatures, and of meriting their approbation ; particularly that 
of Louis the XVI. my illustrious benefactor, who, after the ex- 
ample of Titus, and of Marcus-Aurelius, devotes his whole 
attention to the felicity of mankind. 

In Nature herself alone, we must expect to find the laws of 
Nature ; and we plunge into difficulty and distress, only in 
proportion as we deviate from those laws. To study Nature, 
therefore, is to act the part of a good subject, and of a friend 
to humanity. I have employed, in my researches, all the 
powers of reasoning I possess ; and, though my means may 
have been slender, I can say, with truth, that I have not per- 
mitted a single day to pass, without picking up some agreea- 
ble, or useful observation. 

Vol. I. A 


I proposed to begin the composition of my Work, when I 
had ceased from observing, and when I should have collected 
all the materials necessarj' to a History of Nature ; but I found 
myself in the condition of the child, who, with a shell, had 
dug a hole in the sand, to hold the water of the Ocean. 

Nature is of unbounded extent, and I am a human being, 
limitted on every side. Not only her general History, but 
that of the smallest plant, far transcends my highest powers. 
Permit me to relate, on what occasion I became sensible of this. 
One day, in Summer, while I was busied in the arrangement 
of some observations which I had made, respecting the har- 
monies discoverable in this Globe of our's, I perceived, on a 
strawbeny plant, which had been accidentally placed in my 
window, some small winged insects, so very beautiful that I 
took a fancy to describe them. Next day, a different sort ap- 
peared, which I proceeded, likewise, to describe. In the 
course of three weeks, no less than thirty-seven species, total- 
ly distinct, had visited my strawberry plant : at length, they 
came in such crowds, and presented such variety, that I was 
constrained to relinquish this study, though highly amusing, 
for want of leisure, and, to acknowledge the truth, for want 
of expression. 

The insects, which I had observed, where all distinguish- 
able from each other, by their colours, their forms, and their 
motions. Some of them shone like gold, others were of the 
colour of silver, and of brass ? some were spotted, some stri- 
ped ; they were blue, green, brown, chesnut-coloured. The 
heads of some were rounded like a turban, those of others 
were drawn out into the figure of a cone. Here it was dark 
as a tuft of black velvet, there it sparkled like a ruby. 

There was not less diversity in their wings. In some they 
were long and brilliant, like transparent plates of mother-of- 
pearl ; in others, short and broad, resembling net-work of the 
finest gauze. Each had his particular manner of disposing and 
managing his wings. Some disposed theirs perpendicularly ; 
others, horizontally ; and they seemed to take pleasure in dis- 
playing them. Some flew spirally, after the manner of butter- 
flies ; others sprung into the air, directing their flight in oppo- 
sition to the wind, by a mechanism somewhat similar to that 


of a paper-kite, which in rising, forms, with the axis of the 
wind, an angle, I think of twenty-two degrees and an half. 

Some alighted on the plant to deposit their eggs ; others, 
merely to shelter themselves from the Sun. But the greatest 
part paid this visit from reasons totally unknown to me : for 
some went and came, in an incessant motion, while others 
moved only the hinder part of their body. A great many of 
them remained entirely motionless, and were like me, perhaps, 
employed in making observations. 

I scorned to pay any attention, as being already sufficiently 
known, to all the other tribes of insects, which my strawberry 
plant had attracted; such as the snail, which nestles under 
the leaves ; the butterfly, which flutters around ; the beetle, 
which digs about its roots ; the small worm, which contrives 
to live in the parenchyme^ that is, in the mere thickness of a 
leaf; the wasp and honey-bee, which hum around the blos- 
soms ; the gnat, which sucks the juices of the stem ; the ant, 
which licks up the gnat ; and, to make no longer an enume- 
ration, the spider, which, in order to find a prey in these, 
one after another, distends his snares over the whole vicinity. 

However minute these objects may be, they surely merited 
my attention, as Nature deemed them not unworthy of her's. 
Could I refuse them a place in my general History, when she 
had given them one in the system of the Universe ? For a still 
stronger reason, had I written the history of my strawberry 
plant, I must have given some account of the insects attached 
to it. Plants are the habitation of insects; and it is impossible 
to give the history of a city, without saying something of it's 

Besides, my strawberry plant was not in it's natural situation, 
in the open country, on the border of a wood, or by the brink 
of a rivulet, where it could have been frequented by many other 
species of living creatures. It was confined to an earthen pot, 
amidst the smoke of Paris. I observed it only at vacant mo- 
ments. I knew nothing of the insects which visited it during 
the course of the day ; still less of those which might come 
only in the night, attracted by simple emanations, or, perhaps, 
by a phosphoric light, which escapes our senses. I was totally 
ignorant of the various species which might frequent it, at other, 
seasons of the year, and of the endless other relations which it 


might have, with reptiles, with amphibious animals, fishes, birds, 
quadrupeds, and, above all, with Man, who tmdervalues every 
thing which he cannot convert to his own use. 

But it was not sufficient to observe it, from the heights of 
my greatness, if I may use the expression ; for, in this case, my 
knowledge would have been greatly inferior to that of one of 
the insects, who made it their habitation. Not one of them, on 
exanuning it with his little spherical eyes, but must have dis- 
tinguished an infinite variety of objects, which I could not per- 
ceive without the assistance of a microscope, and after much 
laborious research. Nay, their eyes are inconceivably superior 
even to this instrument ; for it shews us the objects only which 
are in it's focus, that is, at the distance of a few lines ; whereas 
they perceive, by a mechanism of which we have no conception, 
those which are near, and those which are far off. Their eyes, 
therefore, are at once microscopes and telescopes. Besides, by 
their circular disposition round the head, they have the advan- 
tage of viewing the whole circuit of the heavens at the same in- 
stant, while those of the Astronomer can take in, at most, but the 
half. My winged insects, accordingly, must discern in the 
strawberry plant, at a single glance, an arrangement and com- 
bination of parts, which, assisted by the microscope, I can ob- 
serve only separate from each other, and in succession. 

On examining the leaves of this vegetable, with the aid of a 
lens which had but a small magnifying power, I found them 
divided into compartments, hedged round with bristles, separat- 
ed by canals, and strewed with glands. These compartments 
appeared to me similar to large verdant inclosures, their bristles 
to vegetables of a particular order ; of which some were upright, 
some inclined, some forked, some hollowed into tubes, from 
the extremity of which a fluid distilled ; and their canals, as 
well as their glands, seemed full of a brilliant liquor. In plants 
of a different species, these bristles, and these canals, exhibit 
forms, colours, aud fluids, entirely different. There are even 
glands, which resemble basons, round, square, or radiated. 

Now, Nature, has made nothing in vain. Wherever She has 
prepared a habitation, She immediately peoples it. She is never 
straitened for Avant of room. She has placed animals, furnished 
with fins, in a single drop of water, and in such multitudes, that 
Lee-wenhcek, the natural Philosopher, reckoned up to thousands 


of them. Many others after him, and, among the rest, Robert 
Hook^ have seen, in one drop of water, as small as a grain of 
millet, some 10, others 30, and some as far as 45 thousand. 
Those who know not how far the patience and sagacity of an 
Observer can go, might, perhaps, call in question the accuracy 
of these obscrv^ations, if Lyonnet^ who relates them in Lesser^ 
Theology of Insects,* had not demonstrated the possibility of 
it, by a piece of mechanism abundantly simple. We are cer- 
tain, at least, of the existence of those beings whose different 
figures have actually been drawn. Others are found, whose 
feet are armed with claws, on the body of the fly, and even on 
that of the flea. 

It is credible, then, from analogy, that there are animals 
feeding on the leaves of plants, like the cattle in our meadows, 
and on our mountains ; which repose under the shade of a 
down imperceptible to the naked eye, and which, from goblets 
lormed like so many suns, quaff nectar of the colour of gold 
and silver. Each part of the flower must present to them, a 
spectacle of which we can form no idea. The yellow an- 
therce] of flowers, suspended by fillets of white, exhibit to their 
eyes, double rafters of gold in equilibrio, on pillars fairer than 
ivory ; the corolla^ an arch of unbounded magnitude, embel- 
lished with the ruby and the topaz ; rivers of nectar and ho- 
ney ; the other parts of the floweret, cups, urns, pavilions, 
domes, which the human Architect and Goldsmith have not 
yet learned to imitate. 

I do not speak thus from conjecture : for having examined, 
one day, by the microscope, the flowers of thyme, I distin- 

* Book n. See the last note. 

t Wlierever Saint-Piei-re adopts tlie Latin words anthera, anther, I would 
prefer the words anthers, anther, as being; at least equally elegant, and more 
agrccahle to the g;onius of the English lang'uag'e. In like manner, I prefer 
pistil, and pistils, to pistilltim^SiX\d pistilla. But not being the translator of the 
Studies, I do not make any change in this part of t!ie author's text. Indeed, 
with the text, I have taken no liberty whatever, except in two or three in- 
stances, where I have made a slight alteration in the names of some of the 
plants. Thus I have changed mugnoUum to magnolia^ by which apellation it is 
known in all die books of botany. Li regard to the word " fillets," it would be 
better to riad "filaments." This word, formed from the Latin //umen/K/n, 
a thread, is now adopted in the English books of botany, apd even begins to 
It: used in familiar conversation —B S H 


guished in them, with equal surprize and delight, superb fla- 
gons, with a long neck, of a substance resembling amethyst, 
from the gullets of which seemed to flow ingots of liquid gold. 
I have never made observation of the corolla simply, of the 
smallest flower, without finding it composed of an admirable 
substance, half transparent, studded with brilliants, and shining 
in the most lively colours. 

The beings which live under a reflex thus enriched, must 
have ideas, very diff"erent from ours, of light, and of the other 
phenomena of Nature. A drop of dew, filtering in the capil- 
lary and transparent tubes of a plant, presents to them, thou- 
sands of cascades ; the same drop, fixed as a wave on the ex- 
tremity of one of its prickles, an Ocean without a shore ; eva- 
porated into air, a vast aerial Sea. They must, therefore, see 
fluids ascending, instead of falling ; assuming a globular form, 
instead of sinking to a level ; and mounting into the air, in- 
stead of obeying the power of gravity. 

Their ignorance must be as wonderful as their knowledge. 
As they have a thorough acquaintance Avith the harmony of 
only the minutest objects, that of vast objects must escape 
them. They know not, undoubtedly, that there are men, and, 
among these, learned men, who know every thing, who can 
explain every thing, who, transient like themselves, plunge 
into an infinity on the ascending scale, in which they are lost ; 
whereas they, in virtue of their littleness, are acquainted with 
;m opposite infinity, in the last divisions of time and matter. 

In these ephemerous beings, we must find the youth of a 
single morning, and the decrepitude of one day. If they pos- 
sess historical monuments, they must have their months, years, 
ages, epochs, proportioned to the duration of a flower ; they 
must have a chronology different from ours, as their haudrau- 
lics and optics must differ. Thus, in proportion as Man brings 
the elements of Nature near him, the m-inciples of his Science 

Such, therefore, must have been my strawberry plant, and 
It s natural inhabitants, in the eyes of my winged insects, which 
had alighted to visit it ; but supposing I had been able to ac- 
quire, with them, an intimate knowledge of this new world, I 
was still very far from having the history of it. I must have, 
previously, studied it's relations to the other parts of Nature ; 


to the Sun, which expands it's blossom, to the winds which 
sow it's seeds over and over, to the brooks whose banks it 
forms and embellishes. I must have known, how it was pre- 
served in Winter, during a cold capable of cleaving stones 
asunder; and how it should appear verdant in the Spring, 
without any pains employed to preserve it from the frost ; how, 
feeble and crawling along the ground, it should be able to find 
it's way from the deepest valley, to the summit of the Alps, to 
traverse the Globe from north to south, from mountain to 
mountain, forming, on it's passage, a thousand charming pieces 
of chequered work, of it's fair flowers, and rose-coloured fruit, 
with the plants of every other climate ; how it has been able to 
scatter itself from the mountains of Cachemire to Archangel, 
and from the Felices^ in Norway, or Kamschatka,; how, in a 
word, we find it in equal abundance, in both American Conti- 
nents, though an infinite number of animals is making inces- 
sant and universal war upon it, and no gardener is at the trou- 
ble to sow it again.* 

Supposing all this knowledge acquired, I should still have 
arrived no farther than at the history of the genus y and not that 
of the species. The varieties would still have remained un- 
known, which have each it's particular character, according as 
they have flowers single, in pairs, or disposed in clusters ; ac- 
cording to the colour, the smell, and the taste of the fruit ; ac- 
cording to the size, the figure, the edging, the smoothness, or 
the downy clothing of their leaves. One of our most celebrat- 
ed botanists, Sebastian le Vaillanty\ has found, in the environs 
of Paris alone, five distinct species, three of which bear flowers, 
without producing fruit. In our gardens, we cultivate at least 
twelve different sorts of foreign strawberries ; that of Chili, of 
Peru ; the Alpine, or perpetual ; the Swedish, which is green, 
&c. But how many varieties are there, to us totally unkno^vn ! 

• It has, until of late, been very generally siipposed, that the strawberry 
of North-America is tlie same as thatof llie old continent : but it is now be- 
lieved, that they are specifically different. The American species is called 
by Michaux, in his Flora, fragaria C'anaderisis. I have called it fragaria 
Americana. There is no reason to suppose, that these two plants are merely 
physical varieties. B. S. B. 

f Author of Botanicon Parisicnso. 


Elas not every degree of latitude a species peculiar to itself? 
Is it not presumable, that there may be trees which produce 
strawberries, as there are those which bear pease and French- 
beans ? May we not even consider as varieties of the straw- 
beny^ the numerous species of the raspberry, and of the bram- 
ble, with which it has a very striking analogy, from the shape 
of it's leaves ; from it's shoots, which creep along the ground, 
and replant themselves ; from the rose form of it's flowers, and 
that of its fruit ; the seeds of which are on the outside ? Has 
it not, besides, an affinity with the eglantine and the rose-tree, 
as to the flower ; with the mulberry, as to the fruit ; and with 
the trefoil itself, as to the leaves ; one species of which, com- 
mon in the environs of Paris, bears, likewise, it's seeds aggre- 
gated into the form of a strawberry, from which it derives the 
botanic name of trifolium fragiferum, the strawberry-bearing 
trefoil? Now, if we reflect, that all these species, varieties, 
analogies, affinities, have, in every particular latitude, necessary 
relations with a multitude of animals, and that these relations 
are altogether unknown to us, we shall find, that a complete 
History of the strawberry plant, would be ample employment 
for all the Naturalists in the world. 

What a task then, would it be, to Write the History, in like 
manner, of all the species of vegetables which are scattered 
over the whole Earth ? The celebrated Linnceus reckoned up 
from seven to eight thousand of them ; but he had not travel- 
led. The famous Sherard, it is said, was acquainted with six- 
teen thousand. Another Botanist swells his catalogue up to 
tvv^enty thousand. Finally, one still more modern, boasts of 
having himself made a collection of twenty-five thousand ; and 
he estimates the number of those which he has not seen, at 
four or five times as many. But all these enumerations must 
be extremely defective, if it is considered, as has been remark- 
ed by this last Observer himself, that wf know little or nothing 
of the interior of Africa ; of that of the three Arabias, and 
even of the two Americas ; very little of New Guinea, New 
Holland, and New Zealand, and of the innumerable islands of 
the South Sea, the greatest part of which are themselves still 
undiscovered. We know hardly any thing of the Isle of Cey- 
lon, except a little of the coast ; and of the great island of Ma- 
dagascar ; of the immense archipelagoes of the Philippines and 


Moluccas, and of almost all the Asiatic islands. As to that 
vast Continent, with the exception of some great roads in the 
interior, and some part of the coast resorted to by the traffick 
of Europe, we may affirm that it is wholly unknown to us. 

How many immense districts are there in Tartary, in Sibe- 
ria, and even in many of the kingdoms of Europe, where the 
foot of Botanist never trod ! Some, indeed, have given us a 
herbal of Malabar, Japan, China, &c. but if we reflect, that, in 
these countries, their researches never penetrated beyond the 
sea-coast, and were generally confined to one season of the 
year, when a part only of the plants, peculiar to each climate, 
appear ; that they have visited only the narrow regions adjoin- 
ing to our European factories ; that they have never dared to 
plunge into deserts, where they could have found neither subsis- 
tence nor guide ; nor ventured themselves among the numerous 
tribes of barbarous Nations, whose language they could not 
imderstand ; we shall find reason to conclude, that their boasted 
collections, however valuable, are still extremely defective. 

In order to be convinced of this, we have only to compare 
the time employed by them, in making their collections of 
plants in foreign countries, with that which ^'t cost Le Vaillant 
to collect those of the vicinity of Paris only* The learned 
Tournefort had already made this a pa'cicular study ; and, af- 
ter a master so indefatigable had completed his Work, all the 
Botanists of the capital, it was tl^'JSht, might have gone to 
rest. Le Vaillant, his pupil, K*d the courage to walk over 
the same ground after him, a-'id discovered such a considerable 
quantity of distinct species, overlooked by Tournefort, that he 
doubled, at least, the catalogue of our plants. He made it 
amount to fifteen or sixteen hundred. And even then, he did 
not include in this enumeration those which differ only in the 
colour of the flowers, and the spots of the leaves, though Na- 
ture frequently employs such signs as these, in the vegetable 
world, to distinguish the species, and to form their true charac- 
ters. Hear what Boerhaave, his illustrious Editor, says of his 
laborious researches : 

Incubuit qii'tppe huic labori ab anno 1696, usque in Martium 
1 722 ; toto qxiidem tanti decursu temporis iji eo occupatiis sem- 
per, nullum pneteriens uuquam, cujus plantas haud excuteret 

Vol. I. B 


angulum: vias, agros, valles^ inontcs^ hortos^ nemora, stagna^ 
paludes^fumina^ripas^fossas^puteos^ vndeqiuique lustrans. Con- 
tig'it ergo^ crebro^ iit detegeret 7naximi qux Tournefortii inten- 
tissimos oculos effugerant.^' (Preface to the Botankon Parisi- 
aise, pages 3 and 4.) 

Sebastian le Vaillaiit^ accordingly, employed no less than 
twenty-six whole years, in his own country, and with the as- 
sistance of his pupils, in completing his botanical description of 
the plants of a few square leagues ; whereas the persons who 
pretend to give us the Botany of many foreign countries, were 
alone and unassisted, and dispatched the business in a few 
months. But, though his sagacity and perseverance seem to 
have left us nothing more to wish for, I have my doubts, 
whether he has made a complete collection of all the gifts 
which Flora scatters over our plains ; and whether he has seen, 
if I may use the expression, to the bottom of her basket. Pliny 
observed plants, in places, not comprehended in Boerhaave?, 
enumeration, and which grow on the tiles that cover our hou- 
ses, on rotten sieves, and on the heads of ancient statues. It 
is undoubtedly certain, that we ai-e, from time to time, disco- 
vering some, at t^ great distance from Paris, which have no 
place in the Botankon of Le VaillanU 

For my own part, )P. \ might be permitted to hazard a con- 
jecture, respecting the nwnber of the distinct species of plants, 
spread over the Earth, such^s my idea of the immensity of Na- 
ture, and of her subdivisions. tKat I am disposed to believe, 
there is not a square league of ,^rtK, but what presents some 
one plant peculiar to itself, or, at let^st, which thrives there bet- 
ter, and appears more beautiful, thai, in aivy other part of the 
Avorld. This makes the number of the primordial species of 
vegetables amount to several millions, diftused over as manv 

* He devoted his whole attention to this laborious undertaking-, from the 
year 1696 to March 1722. During a period of such length, he was con- 
stantly and unweariedly employed in it, never passing by the smallest cor- 
ner without examining what plants it contained. With the eye of an Ob- 
server he pried into everyplace, the roads, fields, vallies, mountains, gar- 
dens, forests, pools, morasses, rivers, their banks, ditches, wells : hence he 
had, fi-equently, the good fortune, to discover many things which escaped 
the eager eyes of the gi-eat Townefort. 

STUDY I. 11 

millions of square leagues, of which the surface of our Globe 
consists. The farther south we advance, the more their variety 
increases within spaces of the same dimension. The Isle of 
Otahite in the South Sea was found to have a botany peculiar to 
itself, and which had nothing in common with that of the places 
in Africa and America, which are situated in the same latitude ; 
nay, totally different from that of the adjacent islands. And if 
we now reflect, that each plant has several different names, in 
its own country; that ever}^ Nation imposes particular denomi- 
nations, and that all these names, at least the greater part, are 
varying ever)^- age, what difficulties does not the vocabulary 
alone oppose to the study of Botany ? 

All these preliminary notions, however, would still form only 
a useless Science, did we even know, in the most complete de- 
tail, all the parts of which plants are composed. It is the com- 
bination of these parts, the attitude of the plants, their port, 
their elegance, the harmonies which they form, when grouped, 
or in contrast with each other, which it would be interesting to 
determine. I do not know that any thing has been so much as 
attempted on this subject. 

As to their virtues, it may be affirmed, that they are for the 
most part unknown, or neglected, or abused. 'I'heir qualities 
are often perverted, in making cruel experiments on innocent 
animals, while they might be usefully employed as miraculous 
remedies, to counteract the ills of human life. We have pre- 
served, for example, in the Royal Cabinet at Paris, arrows more 
formidable than those of Hercules, though dipped in the blood 
of the snake of Lerna. Their points are impi-egnated with the 
juice of a plant so venomous, that, though exposed to the air 
for many }'ears, they can, with the slightest puncture, destroy 
the most robust of animals, in a few minutes. The blood of 
the creature, be the wound ever so trifling, instantly congeals. 
But if the patient, at the same instant, is made to swallow a 
small quantity of sugar, the circulation is immediately restored. 
Both the poison and the antidote, have been discovered by the 
savages who inhabit the banks of the Amazon ; and it is of im- 
portance to observe, that they never employ in war, but only in 
the chace, this murderous method of destroying life. 

Wherefore do not we, who pretend to so much humanity and 
illumination, endeavour to ascertain by experiment, whether this 


poison might not be rendered medicinal, in cases of a sudden 
dissolution of the blood ; and sugar, in cases of sudden coagu- 
lation? Alas! how is it to be expected that we should apply to 
the preservation of Mankind, the malignant and destructive 
qualities of a foreign vegetable, we who are continually abusing, 
for mutual destruction, the precious gifts which Nature has be- 
stowed, in the view of rendering human life innocent and happy ? 
The elm and the beech, under the shade of which our shepherds 
and their mates delight to dance, are hewn down into carriages, 
for mounting the thundering artillery. We intoxicate our sol- 
diers into madness, that they may kill each other, without 
hati-ed, with that very juice of the vine which Providence has 
given to be the means of reconciliation among enemies. The 
lofty fir-trees, planted by the benignant hand of Nature, amidst 
the snows of the North, to shelter and warm the inhabitants, 
converted into masts for the vessels of Europe, to carry the 
flames of devouring fire against the peaceful inhabitants of the 
Southern Hemisphere ; and the canvas, designed for the humble 
clothing of the village-maid, becomes a sail for the plundering 
corsair, to extend his ravages to remotest India. Our crops, 
and our forests, are wafted over the Ocean, to spread desolation 
over both the Ofd and New Worlds. 

But let us drop the history of Man, and resume that of Na- 
ture. If, from the vegetable, we make a transition to the ani^ 
mal kingdom, a field of incomparably greater extent presents 
itself. An intelligent Naturalist, at Paris, some years ago 
announced, that he was in possession of more than thirty thou- 
sand distinct species of animals. I know not whether the King's 
magnificent Cabinet may not contain more j but I know well, 
that his Herbals contain only eighteen thousand plants, and that 
about six thousand are in a state of cultivation in the Royal Bo- 
tanic Garden. This number of animals,Jjowever, so superiqr to 
that of vegetables, is a mere nothing, in comparison with what 
exists on the Globe. 

When we recollect, that every species of plant is a point of 
union for different genera of insects, and that there is not, per- 
haps, a single one, but which has, peculiar to itself, a species of 
fly, butterfly, gnat, beetle, lady-bird, snail, and the like ; that 
these insects serve for food to other species, and these too ex- 
ceeding numerous, such as the spider, the dragon-fly, the ant, 

STUDY I. 13 

the formicaleo ; and to the immense families of small birds of 
which many classes, such as the wood-pecker, and the swallow 
have no other kind of nourishment ; that these birds are, in 
their turn, devoured by birds of prey, such as kites, falcons, 
buzzards, rooks, crows, hawks, vultures, and others ; that the 
general spoil of these animals, sweeped off by the rains, into the 
rivers, and thence to the sea, becomes the aliment of almost in- 
numerable tribes of fishes, to the greatest part of which the 
Naturalists of Europe have not hitherto given a name ; that 
numberless legions of river and sea-fowls prey upon these fishes : 
we shall have good ground for believing, that every species of 
the vegetable kingdom serves as a basis to many species of the 
animal kingdom, which multiply aroimd it, as the rays of a cir- 
cle round its centre. *= 

At the same time, I have not included in this superficial re- 
presentation, either quadrupeds, with which all the intervals of 
magnitude are filled, from the mouse, which lives under the 
grass, up to the camelopard, who can feed on the foliage of 
trees, at the height of fifteen feet; or the amphibious tribes; 
or the birds of night; or reptiles; or polypuses, of which we 
have a knowledge so slender; or sea insects, some families of 
which, such as the crab-fish, shrimp, and the like, would be 
alone sufficient to fill the greatest cabinets, were you to intro- 
duce but a single individual of every species. I do not include 
the madrepore, with which the bottom of the sea is paved be- 
tween the Tropics, and which present so many different species, 
that I have seen, in the Isle of France, two great halls filled 
with those which were produced in the immediate vicinity of 
that Isle, though there was but a single specimen of each sort 

• There can be no doubt that the whole number of animals upon this earth, 
in its waters, and in its atmosphere, is infinitely greater tlian that of the ve 
getables. The number of plants, now known, may amount to about thirty- 
two or tliirty-three thousand. It is not probable that this is more than three- 
fourths of the whole number of those which do actually exist. But the 
number of animals already known is, at least, fifty thousand ; and when it is 
considered that the discovery of almost every new species of veg-etable makes 
us acquainted with a new species of insect : above all, when we reflect, what 
numbers of animal existences are daily brought to light through the medium 
of the microscope, we actually see no limits to our inquiries into the number 
of animals. With great probability, may we conjecture, that many centu- 
ries must pass away, before we shall be able to form any tolerable estimate 
of the CRtalogue of tJie (now) living animals—B. S B 


I have made no mention of insects of many kinds, as the louse 
and the maggot, of which every animal species has its particular 
A-arieties, proper to itself, and which triple, at least, the king- 
dom of creatures existing by respiration. Neither have I taken 
into the account, that infinite number of living things, visible 
and invisible, known and unknown, which have no fixed deter- 
mination, and which Nature has scattered about, through the 
Air, over the Earth, and along the depths of the Ocean. 

What an undertaking, then, would it be, to describe each of 
these beings, with the sagacity of a Reaumur ? The life of one 
man of genius, would be scarcely sufficient to compose the His- 
tory of a few insects. However curious may be the memoirs 
transmitted to us, after the most careful research, respecting the 
manners, and the anatomy, of the animals most familiarly known, 
in vain do we still flatter ourselves with our having acquired a 
complete acquaintance. The principal requisite, in my opinion, 
is yet wanting; I mean, the origin of their friendships and of 
their feuds. In this consists, if I am not mistaken, the essence 
of their History, to which must be referred their instincts, their 
loves, their wars ; the attire, the arms, and the very form which 
Nature gives them. A moral sentiment seems to have deter- 
mined their physical organization. I know not of any Natu- 
ralist who has engaged in a research of this sort.* The Poets 
have endeavoured to explain these wonderful and innate in- 
stincts, by their ingenious fictions. The swallow Progne flies 
the forest; her sister Philomela delights to sing in solitary 
places. Progne thus, one day, addresses her: 

Le desert est-il fait pour des talens si beaux ? 
Venez faire aux cites eclater leurs merveilles ; 
Aussi bien, en voyant les bois, 

* Iflatter myself that some of the views of Saint-Pien-e will be accomplish- 
ed, in a work in wliich I have been long engaged ; " On the Instincts and 
Manners of all the known Families of Animals." Considerable portions of 
tliis work, which however it will demand years of additional labour and re- 
search to accomplish even to my own satisf;iction, have been publicly read, 
at different times, to my classes in the University of Pennsylvania. A frag- 
ment, or sketch, of the larger and more finished work, I hope to be able to 
print, for the satisfaction of the curious and particularly of my friends, in the 
course of three or four years. The work will be embellished with a con- 
siderable number of plates, engraven after original drawings, by the ablest 
artists.— B. S. B. 

STUDY I. 13 

Sans ccsse il vous souvient que Teree autrefois, 

Parmi des demeures pareilles, 

Exerca sa furcur sur vos divins appas. 

Et c'est le souvenir d'une si cruel outrage, 

Qui fait, reprit sa soeur, que je ne vous suis pas : 

En voyant les hommes, helas ! 

II m'eii souvient blen davantage.* 

I never hear the enchantingly melancholy song of a nightin- 
gale, shrouded in shrubbery, and the lengthened piou-piou, which 
interrupt, like sighs, the music of that solitary songster, without 
believing, that Nature had revealed her adventure to the sublime 
La Fontaine, at the time she inspired him to compose these 
verses. If these fables were not the history of men, they would 
be, to me at least, a supplement to that of animals. Philoso- 
phers of name, unfaithful to the testimony of their reason and 
conscience, have dared to represent them as mere machines. 
They ascribe to them blind instincts, which regulate, in a man- 
ner perfectly uniform, all their actions, without passion, without 
will, without choice, and even without any degree of sensibilit}-. 
I one day expressed my astonishment at this toy. J. Rousseau; 
and said to him, it seemed exceedingly strange, that men of 
genius should maintain a position so extravagant. He very 
sagely replied. The solution is this, Wheii Man begins to reason, 
he ceases to feel. 

In order to confute the opinions of such Philosophers, I shall 
have recourse, not to those animals whose sagacity and industry 
excite our admiration, such as the beaver, the bee, the ant, and 
such like. I shall produce only one example, taken from the 
class of those which are most indocile, namely fishes, and shall 
select it from among a species, governed by an instinct the 
most impetuous and the most stupid, which is glutton) . 

* Thus imitated : 

Why waste such sweetness on the desert air ? 

Come, charm the city with thy tuneful note ; 
Think too, in solitude, that form so fair 

Telt violation : flee the liorrid tliought. 

Ah ! sister dear, sad Pliilomel replies, 

'Tis this that makes me slmn tlie haunts of men : 

Tereus and Courts the ang-uish'd heart alhes, 
Antl hastes, for shelter, to tfie woods again. 


The shark is a fish so voracious, that he will not only devour 
his own species, when pressed by hunger, but swallows, without 
distinction, eveiy thing that drops from a ship into the sea, cor- 
dage, cloth, pitch, wood, iron, nay, even knives. Nevertheless, 
I have been a frequent witness of his abstinence, in two re- 
markable circumstances ; the one is, however urged by famine, 
he never touches a kind of small fish, speckled with yellow and 
black, called the pilot-fish, which swims just before his snout, 
to guide him to his prey, which he cannot see till he is close to 
it; for Nature, as a counterbalance to the ferocity of this fish, 
has rendered him almost blind.* The other case is this, when 
you throw into the sea a dead fowl, the noise brings him to the 
spot, but on discovering it to be a fowl, he immediately retires, 
without devouring it ; this has furnished sailors with a proverb : 
The shark jlies from the feather. It is impossible, in the first 
case, not to ascribe to him some portion of understanding, which 
represses his voracity, in favour of his guide ; and not to attri- 
bute, in the second, his aversion to feathered flesh, to that uni- 
versal reason, which, destining him to live along the shallows, 
where cadaverous substances of creatures perishing in the sea, 
fall and are deposited, inspires him with an aversion for feathered 
animals, that he may not destroy the sea-fowls, which resort 
thither in great numbers, employed, like himself, in looking out 
for a livelihood, and in cleansing the shores from impurities. 

Other Philosophers, on the contrary, have ascribed the man- 
ners of animals, as those of men, to education ; and their natu- 
ral affections, as well as their animosities, to resemblance or 
dissimilitude of form. But if friendship is founded in simili- 
tude of form, how comes it, that the hen, who walks in security 

* The "abstinence" of the shark, in reg-ard to the pilot-fish, is one of the 
most interesting- facts in natural history ; and it appears, from late observa- 
tions, to be a fact fully authenticated. On this subject, the remarks of Mr. 
Geoffrey, of Paris, seem to be highly worthy of the notice of the curious 
readers of these Studies. A translation of the remarks from the Bulletin des 
Sciences, may be seen in Mr. Hillcock's Philosophical Magazine, vol. xiii. p. 
354, &c. The pilot-fish is the gasterosteus ductor of Linnaeus. "It would be, 
no doubt (says Mr. Geoffrey,) curious to inquire what interest can induce 
animals so different in their organization, their size, and habits, to form a 
sort of association. Does the pilot-fish feed on the dung of tlie shark ? as C. 
Bosc thmks ; and has It imposed on itself tlie painful duties of domesticity to 
find protection and safety in the neighbourhood of so voracious an animal ?"— 
B. S. B. 

STUDY I. ly 

at the head of her brood, among the horses and oxen of a farm- 
yard, though part of her family is sometimes accidentally 
crushed by the feet of those animals, collects her young, with 
anxious inquietude, at the sight of the hawk, a feathered animal 
like herself, who appears in the air but as a black point, and 
whom, perhaps, she hardly, if ever, saw before ? Why does the 
dog in the yard fall a barking, in the night time, at the smell 
only of the fox, an animal which has a strong resemblance to 
himself? If habits of long standing could influence animals, as 
they do men, how has it been possible to render the ostrich of 
the desert familiar to such a degree, that he has been made to 
carry children on his plumeless crupper; whereas no skill has, 
hitherto, been able to tame the swallow, a bird which has, from 
time immemorial, built her nest in our houses ? 

Where can we find, among the Historians of Nature, a Taci- 
tus^ who shall unveil to us these mysteries of the Cabinet of 
Heaven, without an explanation of which, it is impossible to 
write the History of a single animal on the Earth ? We find no one 
species deviating, like the human, from the laws Imposed on it 
by Nature. Bees, univcrsiilly, live in repviblics, as they did in 
die time of Esop. The common fly has always been a vaga- 
bond, one of a herd without any police or restraint. How comes 
it that, among these, no Lycurgus has ever yet arisen, to reduce 
them into order, for the general good ; and to prescribe to them, 
as Philosophers tell us the first Legislators among men did, 
laws dictated by their weakness, and by the necessity of uniting 
in society? 

On the other hand, W^hence is it, as Machiaval affirms of Na- 
tions possessing too much happiness, that among the canine 
species, exulting in the superiority of their strength, no Catiline 
arises, to impel his associates to take advantage of the security 
of their masters, and to destroy them at once ; no Spartacus to 
rouse them to liberty by his howling, that they might live as 
sovereigns of the forest, they to whom Nature has given arms, 
courage, and skill to subdue, in whole armies, animals the most 
formidable ? When so many trivial laws of Nature are, under 
our very eyes, unknown, or misunderstood, how dare we pre- 
sume to assign those which regulate the course of the stars, and 
which embrace the immensity of the Universe ? 

Vol. r. C 


To the difficulties opposed to us by Nature, let us add those 
which we ourselves throw in the way. First, methods and 
systems of all sorts prepare, in every man, his manner of view- 
ing objects. I do not speak of Metaphysicians, who explain all 
by means of abstract ideas ; nor of Algebraists, with their for- 
mules; nor of Geometricians, with their compasses; nor of 
Chymists with their salts ; nor of the revolutions which their 
opinions, though intolerant in the extreme, undergo in every 
age. Let us confine ourselves to notions the most universally 
admitted, and supported by the highest authority. 

To begin with Geographers. They represent the Earth as 
divided into four principal parts, whereas, in reality, there arc 
only two. Instead of the rivers which water it, the rocks which 
form its barriers, the chains of mountains which divide it into 
climates, and other natural subdivisions, they exhibit it speckled 
all over with party-coloured lines, which divide and' subdivide 
it into empires, dioceses, principalities, electorates, bailiwicks, 
salt-magazine districts. They have disfigured the originals, or 
substituted names without a meaning, in place of those which 
the native inhabitants of every country had given them, and 
which so well expressed their nature. They call, for example, 
a city, near to that of Mexico, where the Spaniards shed such 
oceans of human blood, the CtUj of Angels^ but to which the 
Mexicans gave the name of Cuet-lax-cupan^ that is, the snake in 
the xuater, because that of two fountains, which issue from thence, 
one is poisonous ; they call the Missisippi^ that great river of 
North America, which the natives denominate Mechassipi^ the 
father ofxvaters; the Cordeliers^ those high mountains border- 
ing on the Sovith Sea, which are always covered with snow, and 
which are called by the Peruvians in the royal language of the 
Incas, Ritisuyii^ snoxv-riclge ; and so of an infinite number of 
other proper names. They have stripped the works of Nature 
of their distinctive characters, and Nations of their monu- 

On reading these ancient names, with their Explanations, in 
Garcillaso de la Vega, in Thomas Gage, and the earliest navi- 
gators, you have impressed on the mind, by means of a few 
simple words, the landscape of every country, and something 


wf it's Natural History : * without taking into the account, 
the respect attached to their antiquit}', for this renders the places 
which they describe still more venerable. Those only of the 
Chinese, who traffic with the Europeans, know that their country 
is called China. The name given it by the inhabitans is Chi- 
um-hoa, the Middle Kingdom. They change the name of it, 
when the families of their sovereigns become extinct. A new 
dynasty gives it a new name ; thus the law has determined, . 
to instruct Kings, that the destiny of their people was attached 
to them, as that of their own family. Europeans have des- 
troyed all these correspondencies. They shall for ever bear 
the punishment of this injustice, as well as that of so many 
other of their violations ; for, obstinately persevering to give 
what names they please to the countries which they seize, or in 
which they settle, it comes to pass that, when you see the same 
countries on maps, or in Dutch, English, Portuguese, Spanish, 

* This remark is in an pmincnt dc,^rcc appliCcable to the names of the rivers, 
mountains, vallies, &.c., of North- America. Thus, as indeed our autlior has 
remarked, we liave JMissisippi, whicli signifies, the great river ; JMoiione-ahela, 
or, " the river whose banks are falling- in"; Jenisneia, " the river of beautiful 
vallies"; Roanoke, " the river abounding in money-shells," or wampum ; and 
many otiiers of the like kind. Never do these names mislead us. They ac- 
tually impress upon our minds, by means of a fvw simple • ords, the land- 
scape of the country, and very frequently something- of its natural history. 
You must not expect to find the banks of the Monong-ahela (at Pittsburg-h, at 
least,) permanent, or unwaisting- : and you may be assured, by its name, 
that the Jenisseia glides through a counti-y of fine rich interval grounds. 
Our Indians have given to one of their rivers, the name of tlie " river of the 
great horn." In the bed of this river at the distance in all probability of 
some centuries, from the period at which the name was bestowed upon 
it, we have discovered an enormous defense, or tooth, of a species of 
elephant, which the Indians, for want of more precise information, took 
to be the horn of an animal. — How much is it to be regretted, that we 
have taken so little pains to obtain the aboriginal names of our rivers, &c^ 
together with the ex.act import of those names ! Every day, with the 
increase of population, and the improvements or alterations of the coun- 
try, the subject becomes more and more interesting. Where is the culti- 
vated American who does not now feel anxious to k:iow the ancient 
names of tiie Hudson and the Delaware ? Let it not be said, these names 
were imposed by savages. The first uihabitants of all countries were 
savages. Italia, Italy, rendered sacred by the talents of its anrieit his- 
torians, and orators, and poets ; — I say nothing of its reputed liberty ; — 
Italia : What is the import of this name ? According to Aulus Gellius, 
*' the country of oxen." — B. S. B. 


or French books of travels, you are utterly incapable of distin- 
guishing any thing. Their very longitude is changed, for every 
nation makes it's own capital the first meridian. 

Botanists mislead us still more. I have spoken of the per- 
petual variations of their dictionaries ; but their method is no 
less fault}-. They have devised, in order to distinguish plants, 
characters the most 'complicated, which frequently deceive 
them, though derived from all the parts of the vegetable king- 
dom, while they have never been able to express, by a single 
descriptive term, their combinations, from which the unlearned 
can distinguish them at first sight. They must have magni- 
fying glasses and scales, in order to class the trees of a forest. 
It is not sufficient to see them standing and covered with 
leaves, the Botanist must examine the flower, and frequently 
the fruit too. The clown knows them all perfectly, in the 
boughs which compose his faggot. 

In order to give me an idea of the varieties of germination, 
I am shewn, in bottles, a long series of naked grains of all 
forms ; but it is the capsule which preserves them, the downy 
tuft Avhich re-sows them, the elastic branch which darts them 
to a distance, that it imports me to examine. To shew me 
the character of a flower, it is presented to me dry, discoloured, 
and spread out on the leaf of a herbary. Is it in such a state 
that I can distingusih a lilly ? Is it not rather on the brink of 
a rivulet, raising it's stately stem over the verdant declivitj", 
and reflecting in the limpid stream, it's beautiful calix* whiter 

* According- to Botanists, the lily has no calix, but only a corolla, consist- 
ing of many petals. They call the flower a covrolla, and the case which con- 
tains the flowers a calix. Tliis is, evidently, an abuse of terms. Calix, in 
Greek, and in Latin, means a cup ; and corolla, a little crown. Now, an 
infinite number of flowers, as the cruciform, the papilionaceous, those with 
long- throats, and a multitude of others, are not formed like a coronet, nor 
their cases like cups. I dare venture to affirm, that if Botanists had given 
the simple name of case, or wrapper, to the parts of the plant which 
inclose and protect the flower before it blows, they would have been on the 
road to more than one curious discovery. This impropriety of elementary 
terms in the Sciences, is the first twist given to human reason ; it is 
thereby put, from the very first setting out, entirely aside from the path of 
Nature. — See Vol. II. Study XI. 

Our author is not here as correct as in many other parts of his work. 
It is not the luianimous opinion of the botanists, that the lily has no 

STUDY I. 21 

than ivor)^, that I discern, and admire, the king of the vallies ? 
Is not it's incomparable whiteness rendered still more dazzling, 
when spotted, as with drops of coral, by the little, scarlet, 
hemispherical lady-bird, garnished with black specks, which 
constantly resorts to it as an asylum ? Who can discover the 
queen of flowers in a dried rose ? In order to it's being an 
object, at once, of love and of philosophy, it must be viewed 
when, issuing from the cleft of a humid rock, it shines on it's 
native verdure, when the zeph}T balances it, on a stem armed 
with thorns ; when Aurora has bedewed it with her tears ; 
when, by it's lustre and it's fragrance, it invites the hands of 
lovers. A cantharide, sometimes, lurking in it's corolla, 
heightens the glowing carmine, by presenting the contrast of 
his emerald coloured robe ; it is then this flower seems to say, 
that, symbol of pleasure, from her charms, and the rapidity of 
her decay, like pleasure too, she carries danger around her, and 
repentance in her bosom. 

Naturalists betray us into still wider deviations from Nature, 
in attempting to explain, by uniform laws, and by the mere 
action of air, water, and heat, the expansion of so many plants, 
growing on the same dunghill, of colours, forms, savours, and 
perfumes so different. Do they try to decompound the princi- 
ples of them ? Poison and food present, in their stoves, the 
same results. Thus Nature sports herself with their art, as 
with their theorj^ The corn plant alone, gathered in handfuls 
only by the vulgar, answers a thousand valuable purposes, 
while a multitude of vegetables have remained entirely useless 
in the laboratories of the learned. 

I remember my having read, many years ago, several grave 
dissertations on the manner of employing the horse-chesnut as 
food for cattle. Every Academy in Europe has, at least, pro- 
posed it's own ; and the result of all their learned disquisitions 
was, that the horse-chesnut was useless, unless prepared by a 
very expensive process, and that, even then, it was good only 

calix. Oil the contrary, Jussieu, and many others botanists, both in France 
and in other countries, agree in calling the only cover, or wrapper, with 
which tlie lily, the tulip, &c., arc supplied, the calix : calix campanulatus 
of Jussieu. But this is not all : the term calix is from the Greek xxXvh 
and originally from KX?^vir\0> to cover, and not from h«A<|, a cup. — B. S. B 


in the manufacture of tapers and hair-powder. I was asto- 
nished at this : not that Naturalists should be ignorant of it's 
use, and that they had studied it merely as an article of lux- 
ury, but that Nature should have produced a fruit of no use 
even to the brute creation. But I was at last cured of my 
ignorance, by the brutes themselves. I happened to take my 
walk, one day, to the Bois de Boulogne^ * with a branch of the 
horse-chesnut in my hand, when I perceived a goat feeding. 
I went up and amused myself with stroking her. As soon as 
she perceived the horse-chesnut bough, instantly she seized, 
and snapped it up. The lad who tended her told me, that the 
goats were all very fond of this plant, and that it contributed 
greatly to the increase of their milk. I perceived, at some 
distance, in the chesnut alley, which leads to the Chateau de 
Madrid^ a herd of cows eagerly loooking for horse-chesnuts, 
which they greedily devoured without sauce or pickle. Thus, 
our learned and ingenious systems conceal from us natural 
truths, with which every peasant is acquainted. 

What a spectacle do our cabinets of preserved animals pre- 
sent ? To no purpose has the art of a Daiibenton endeavoured 
to keep up the appearance of life. Let industry do it's utmost 
to preserve the form, their stiff and motionless attitude, their 
fixed and staring eyes, their bristly hair, all declare that they 
have been smitten with the stroke of death. In such a state, 
even beauty itself inspires horror ; whereas objects the most 
homely are agreeable, when placed in the situation which 
Nature has assigned them. I have been often highly diverted, 
in the W^cst-Indies, at the sight of a crab on the sand, strain- 
ing, with his claws, to break into a huge cocoa-nut ; or a 
shaggy ape balancing himself on the summit of a tree, at 
the extremity of a lianne^ loaded with pods and brilliant flowers. 

Our books of Natural History, are merely the romance of 
Nature, and our cabinets her tomb. To what a degree have 
our speculations and our pn-judiccs degraded her ? Our treatises 
on Agriculture shew us, on the plains of Ceres, nothing but 
bags of grain ; in the meadows, the beloved haunt of the 

• The Bois de Boul.og-ne, and Chateau de Madrid, are a wood, and castle, 
not many miles from Paiis. 

STUDY I. 23 

ti\-mphs, only bundles of hay ; and in the majestic forest, only 
cords of wood and faggots. 

What shall we say of the violence done to her by Pride and 
Avarice ? How many charming hills have been reduced to a 
state of villanage, by our laws ! What majestic rivers degraded 
into ser\'itude by imposts ! 

The History of Man has been disfigured in a very different 
manner. If we except the interest which religion, or huma- 
nit)^, has prompted some good men to take, in favour of their 
fellow-creatures, the rest of Historians have written under the 
impulse of a thousand different passions. The Politician re- 
presents Man, as divided into nobility and commonalty, into 
papists and huguenots, into soldiers and slaves ; the Moralist, 
into the avaricious, the hypocritical, the debauched, the proud ; 
the Tragic Poet, into tyrants and their victims ; the Comic, 
into drolls and buffoons ; the Physician, into the pituitous, the 
bilious, the plegmatic. They are universally exhibited as 
subjects of aversion, of hatred, or of contempt : Man has been 
universally dissected, and now nothing is shewn of him but 
the carcase. Thus the master-piece of creation, like every 
thing else in Nature, has been degraded by our learning. 

I do not mean to affirm, however, that from such partial 
means, no usefsl discovery has proceeded : but all these circles, 
within which we circumscribe the Supreme Power, far from 
determining it's bounds, only mark the limit of human genius. 
We accustom ourselves to crowd all our o^vn ideas into that 
narrow space, and dishonestly to reject all that does not ac- 
cord with them. We act the part of the t)Tant of Sicily, who 
fitted the unhappy traveller to his bed of iron : . he violently 
stretched, to the length of the bed, the limbs of those who 
were shorter, and cut short the limbs of those who were longer. 
It is thus we apply all the operations of Nature to our piti- 
ful methods, in order to reduce the whole to one common 

Hurried away myself, by the spirit of the age in which I 
live, I gave, at the end of the journal of my voyage to the Isle 
of France, a system of botany, in which I pretended to ex- 
pliun the expansion of plants, as our Naturalists explain 
that of Madrepores, from the mechanism of the small ani- 


mals which constitute them. I quote this work, though I 
composed it merely as an amusement, to prove how easy it is 
to support a false principle by true observations ; for, having 
communicated it to J-J' Rousseau^ who was, it is well known, 
a great proficient in Botany, he said to me ; / do not adopt 
your system ; but it would cost me, at least, six months to refute 
it ; and even then, I could not fatter myself zuith the certainty 
of having- succeeded. Had the decision of this candid gentle- 
man been wholly unresei-ved, it could not have justified my 

Fiction embellishes the History of Man only, it degrades 
that of Nature. Nature is herself the source of all that is 
ingenious, amiable, and beautiful. By applying to her the vi- 
olence of our imaginary laws, or by extending to all her ope- 
rations, those with which we are acquainted, we conceal others, 
worthy of the highest admiration, with which we are totally 
unacquainted. We add, to the cloud with which she veils 
her divinity, that of our own errors. They get into credit by 
time, by professorships, by books, byprotectors, by associations, 
and especially by pensions ; whereas no one is paid for search- 
ing after truths, which have the improvement of mankind for 
their only object. We carry widi us, into researches so inde- 
pendent and so sublime, the passions of the college and of the 
world, intolerance and envy. 

Those who enter first on the career, oblige those who come 
after them to walk in their footsteps, or to give it up ; as if 
Nature were their patrimony, or as if the study of Nature were 
an exclusive trade, that did not admit of every one's partici- 
pation. ^VTiat trouble did it cost to eradicate, in France, the 
metaphysics of Aristotle, which had become a species of reli- 
gion ? The philosophy of Descartes, which supplanted it, 
might have subsisted to this day, had it's revenues been as 
ample. That of Newton, with it's attractions, is not more so- 
lidly established. I have an unbounded respect for the me- 
mory of those great men, whose very deviations have assisted 
us, in opening great highways through the vast empire of 
Nature ; but, on more occasions than one, I shall combat their 
principles, and especially, the general applications which have 
been made of them, in the full persuasion, that if I renounce 

STUDY 1. 25 

their systems, I promote their intentions. It was the study of 
their whole life to raise men toward the Deity, by their su- 
blime discoveries, without suspecting that the laws which they 
were establishing in Physics, might, one day, serve to subvert 
those of morality. 

In order to form a right judgment of the magnificent specta- 
cle of Nature, we must suffer every object to remain in its place, 
and remain ourselves in that which he has assigned to us. It is 
from a regard to our happiness that she has concealed from us 
the laws of her Omnipotence. How is it possible for a being 
so feeble as Man to embrace infinite space ? But she has brought 
within our grasp what it is at once useful and delightful to know : 
namely, the emanations from her beneficence. In the view of 
uniting Mankind, by a reciprocal communication of knowledge, 
she has given to each of us in particular, ignorance, treasuring 
up Science in a common stock, in order to render us necessary 
and interesting to each other. 

The Earth is covered over with vegetables and animals, the 
siniple vocabulary of which no Scholar, no Academy, no one 
Nation, will ever be able perfectly to acquire ; but it is to be pre- 
sumed, that the human race is acquainted with all their proper- 
ties. In vain do enlightened Nations boast, that they are the 
great repositories of all the Arts and Sciences. It is to Savages, 
to men utterly unknown, that we are indebted for the first obser- 
vations, which are the source of all Science. It is neither to 
the polished Greeks nor Romans, but to Nations which we de- 
nominate barbarous, that we owe the use of simples, of bread, 
of wine, of domestic animals, of cloths, of dye-stuffs, of metals, 
and of every thing most useful, and most agreeable, for human 

Modern Europe glories in her discoveries ; but the invention 
of the art of Printing, one of the fairest titles to immortality, is 
to be ascribed to a person so obscure, that several cities in Hol- 
land, of Germany, nay, of China, have claimed the discovery 
as their own. Galileo would never have calculated the gravity 
of air, but for the observation of a fountain-player, who re- 
marked that water could rise only up to thirty-two feet in the 
tubes of a forcing engine. Nexvton had never read the starry 
heavens, unless a spectacle-maker's children in Zealand had, at 

Vol. I. D 


play with the lenses in their father's shop, suggested the first 
idea of the telescopic cylinder. Our artillery would never have 
subjugated the New World, but for the accidental discovery of 
gun-powder by a lazy monk ; and whatever glory Spain may 
pretend to derive from the discovery of that vast Continent, the 
Savages of Asia had planted Empires there, long before the 
arrival of Christopher Columbus. What must have become of 
that great man himself, if the good and simple inhabitants whom 
he found in the country, had not supplied him with provisions ? 
Let academies, then accumulate machines, systems, books, eulo- 
giums : the chief praise of all is due to the ignorant, who fur- 
nished the first materials. 

Advancing no higher claim, 1 presume to contribute my 
humble offering. It is the fruit of many years of application, 
which, amidst storms long and severe, stole away in these calm 
researches, like a single day of serenity. I earnestly wished, if 
it should not be permitted me to reach a boundary at which to 
stop, to communicate to others, at least the pleasure which I had 
enjoyed on my Avay. 

I have conveyed my observations in the best style of which 
I am capable ; frequently stepping aside to the right hr.nd and 
to the left, as the subject carried me ; sometimes abandoning 
myself to a multitude of projects, which the infinite intelligence 
of nature inspires ; sometimes dwelling with complacency on 
happier seasons and situations, which ai-e never more to return j 
sometimes plunging into futurity, panting after a more fortunate 
state of being, of which the goodness of Heaven affords us now 
and then a glimpse, through the dark clouds of this wretched 
life. Descriptions, conjectures, perceptions, views, objections, 
doubts, nay, my very ignorances, I have heaped all on one pile ; 
and I have given to these ruins the name of Studies as the 
Painter does to the studies of a great original, to which he was 
unable to give a finishing. 

Amidst this disorder it was necessary, however, to adopt 
something like method, without which, the confusion of the 
matter must have still more increased the insufficiency of the 
Author. I have followed the most simple. First, I endeavour 
to refute the objections raised against a Providence ; I then pro- 
ceed to examine into the existence of certain sentiments, whicli 
are common to all men, and which constrain us to acknowledge. 

STUDY I. 27 

in all the works of Nature, the laws of her wisdom and good- 
ness ; and, finally, I make application of these laws to the Globe, 
to Plants, to Animals, and to Man. 

Such, from the outset, is the manner in which I propose to 
direct my course. If, in the rapid sketch which I am going to 
represent of it, the reader should be disgusted with its dryness, I 
must intreat him to reflect, that the same complaint must lie 
against all abridgments ; that, in return, I spare him the fatigue 
of a preface ; and that Pliny ^ who had a much better head than 
mine, has not hesitated to make up the first book of his Natural 
Histor)', of the bare titles of the Chapters which compose it. 

I said then to myself: In the first part of my Work, I 
will display the blessings bestowed by Nature on the age in 
which we live ; and the objections which have been started in 
it, against the providence of its Author. I will conceal no one 
of these that I know of ; and in order to give them greater force, 
I will exhibit them in their combination. I will employ, in re- 
futing them, not metaphysical reasonings, like those of which the 
objections consist, and which never brought any dispute to a ter- 
mination, but the facts themselves of Nature, which admit of no 
reply. With these same facts, I will raise, in my turn, difficul- 
ties which militate against the principles of human Science, and 
which have been deemed infallible. I will from thence proceed 
to infer the feebleness of our reason ; I will enquire whether 
there be universal truths, and what we are to understand by 
order, beauty, correspondency, harmony, pleasure, happiness, 
and their contraries ; and, finally, what an organized body is. 

From this examination of our faculties, and of the effects of 
Nature, will result the evidence of many physical laws, con- 
stantly directed to one single end, and that of a moral law, which 
affects Man alone, and the sentiment of which has been univer- 
sal, in all ages, and among all nations. These are necessary 
preliminaries. Before we attempt to rear the fabric, the ground 
must Ije cleared, and the foundation laid. 

In the SECOND part, I shall make application of these laws 
to the Globe ; I shall examine its form, its extent, the division 
of its Hemispheres; and as it is composed, like every other 
organizA'd work of Nature, of parts similar and of parts con- 
trary, I shall consider, successively, its different elements, and 
the manner of their adaptation to each other, the fire to air, the 


air to water, the water to the earth. This order establishes 
among them a real subordination of which the Sun is the prin- 
cipal agent. But he is not the only mover in Nature, and still 
less the Sovereign Disposer. His uniform action on the ele- 
ments would, at last, separate or confound them. Other laws 
counterbalance his, and maintain the general harmony. 

I shall point out the admirable variety of his course, the 
effects of his heat and light, and the wonderful manner in which 
they are weakened or multiplied in the Heavens, in the inverse 
ratio of latitudes and seasons. I shall speak of the great rever- 
berations of Heaven, of the Moon, of the Aurora Borealis^ of 
the Stars, and of the mysteries of Night, only so far as the 
human eye is permitted to perceive them, and the heart to feel 
their impression. 

I shall speak, likewise, of the nature of Fire^ not to explain 
it, but to evince our profound ignorance of the subject. This 
element, which renders all things else perceptible, itself eludes 
our most eager researches. We shall demonstrate, that there 
is neither animal, tior plant, nor even fossil, capable of subsist- 
ing any length of time in it. It is the only being which in- 
creases its bulk by communicating itself. It penetrates all bodies, 
without being penetrated by them. It is divisible only in one 
dimension. It has no gravity. Though nothing attracts it to 
the cv^ntre of the Earth, it is diffused through all the parts of 
the Globe. Its nature differs from that of all other bodies. Its 
destructive and indefinable character seems to favour the opinion 
of Nexvton^ who considered it only as a motion communicated 
to matter, and who thereby reduced the number of Elements to 
three. However, as it is one of the four general principles of 
life in every living creature ; as we often discover it, in others, 
in a dormant state, and as there is no one, as we shall see, but 
what has organs, or parts, disposed to weaken, or to multiply 
these effects, we must acknowledge it not only to be an Element, 
but Nature's, primary agent. 

From the Fire I shall pass to the Air. I shall examine the 
quality which it has of expanding and contracting, of heating 
and cooling; and the effects of that vast stratum of frozen air 
which surrounds our Globe, about a league above the surface, 
and of which hardly any one of the plienomena has hitherto 
been explained. 

STUDY I. ^9 

I shall next consider the effects of Water: in what manner 
heat evaporates, and cold fixes it ; its different existences ; of its 
volatility in the air, in clouds, in dew, and in rain ; of its fluidity 
on the earth, in rivers, and in Seas ; of its solidity at the Poles, 
and on lofty mountains, in snow and ice. I shall enquire how 
the Seas, which are the great reservoirs of this element, are 
distributed, with relation to the Sun ; how they receive from 
him, through the mediation of the air, a part of their move- 
ments ; in what manner they continually renew their waters, by 
means of the ice accumulated at the Poles ; the annual or pe- 
riodical fusion of which maintains their flux and reflux as con- 
stantly as the fusion of the ices on the summit of high mountains 
renews and supplies the waters of great rivers. I shall hence 
deduce the phenomena of the Tides, of the Monsoons in the 
Indian Ocean, and of the principal Currents of the vast watery 

I shall afterwards hazai-d my conjectures respecting the 
quantity of water which surrounds the Earth, in the three states 
of volatility, fluidity, and solidity ; and shall examine whether 
it is possible that, on being all reduced to a state of fluidity, 
they should entirely cover the Globe. 

I shall consider in what manner all parts of the Earthy that 
is, the dry land, are distributed with relation to the Sun ; so 
that there should be no cavity of valley, nor elevation of rocky 
mountain, but what must be, at some' season of the year, exposed 
to his rays, and disposed, at the same time, in the most per- 
fectly adapted order, to multiply, or to mitigate his heat, by its 
form, or even by its colour. I will demonstrate that, notwith- 
standing the apparent irregularity of the different parts of the 
Globe, they are opposed, with so much harmony, to the different 
currents of air, that there is no one but what is, by turns, ven- 
tilated by winds, hot, cold, drj^, and humid ; that the cold winds 
blow most constantly into warm countries, and warm winds into 
cold countries ; that these countries, in their turn, re-act on the 
air ; so that the cause of the winds is not to be sought, accord- 
ing to the received opinion, in the places whence they proceed, 
but in those which they visit. 

I shall after that speak of the direction of moimtains, of their 
declivities, and of their aspects, with relation to the lakes and 
Seas, whose emanations their different ridges are aU adapted to 


receive ; of the matter which attracts them, and fixes round 
their peaks, rising like so many electric needles. 

Finally, I shall examine for what reason Nature has divided 
the Globe into two Hemispheres ; what means she employs to 
accelerate or retard the course of rivers, and to protect their 
mouths against the movements and currents of the Ocean. I 
shall treat of banks, of shallows, of rocks, of isles, whether in 
seas or rivers ; and I shall prove, I am confident to say, to 
a demonstration, that these parcels detached from the Continent, 
are no more ruinous fragments, violently separated from them, 
than bays, gulfs, and inland seas, are violent irruptions of the 

I shall terminate this part, by indicating the principal agents 
employed by Nature, in repairing her works : how she makes 
use of fire in the form of thunder to purify the air, so frequently 
loaded with mephitic vapours during the violent heats of Sum- 
mer ; and the waters of great lakes and seas, by the volcanos 
which she has placed in their neighbourhood, at the extremity 
of their currents, and which she has multiplied in warm coun- 
tries ; how she clearises the basons of these very waters, which, 
in the course of a few ages, would be choaked up by the accu- 
mulated spoils of the Earth, by means of tempests and hurri- 
canes, which agitate them to the very foundation, and cover 
their banks with the wreck ; and how, after having restored 
these wrecks to their first elements, by fires in the air, by vol- 
canos, and the perpetual motion of the waves, which reduces 
them to sand, and to an impalpable powder on the shore of the 
Sea, she repairs, by means of winds and attractions, the inces- 
sant diminution of the mountains, occasioned by the rains and 

I shall demonstrate, in a word, that, notwithstanding the 
enormous masses of the mountains, the profundity of the val- 
lies, the tempestuous oceans, and temperatures the most oppo- 
site, which enter into the composition of this Globe, the com- 
munication of all it's parts has been rendered easy to a being so 
small and so feeble as Man, and is possible only to him. This 
last view will furnish me with some curious conjectures re- 
specting the earliest voyages undertaken by Mankind. 

I flatter myself that I have said enough to shew, in this sim- 
ple prospectus, that the same Intelligence, whose productions 

STUDY I. 31 

we so justly admire in plants and animals, presides equally in 
the edifice which we inhabit. The earth has hitherto been 
considered as only in a state of ruin ; and it is this prejudice 
which renders the study of Geography so insipid ; but I ven- 
ture to affirm that, after perusing my trifling observations, the 
course of a rivulet, on a map, will ajipear more agreeable than 
the port of a plant in a Botanist's herbal, and the topography 
of a place, as interesting as it's landscape. 

In the THIRD PART of this Work, I will shew how the dif- 
ferent parts of plants are disposed in correspondence with the 
Elements, in such a manner that, far from being a necessary 
production of theirs, as some Philosophers pretend, they are, 
on the contrary, almost always in opposition to their action. I 
shall refer, therefore, their flowers to the Sun ; the thickness, of 
their barks, the scurf which covers their buds, the hair, the 
down, the resinous substances with which they are clothed, to 
the absence of solar heat; the pliancy or stiffiiess of their 
stems, to the different impulses of the air ; their leaves, to the 
waters of Heaven ; finally, their roots, to sands, to mires, to 
rocks, by their fibres, their pivots, and their long cordage. 
This last relation of plants to the Earth is, if I may judge, the 
most important of all though the least observed, for there is not 
a single one but what is attached to it, whether it floats in wa- 
ter or balances itself in the air ; no one but derives part, at 
least, of it's nutriment from thence, and in it's turn re-acts on 
the Earth, by the shade which contributes to it's freshness, by 
the off"al which fertilizes it, and by the roots which binds it's 
different strata. 

I shall adhere, however, to the exterior characters by which 
Nature seems to divide them into different genera. Their 
principal character it is very difficult to determine, not only 
because the simplest plant unites a very great variety of rela- 
tions to all the Elements, but because Nature does not place 
the character of her works, in any one of the parts, but in 
their combination. We shall seek that of each plant, therefore, 
in it's grain, which, as being the principle, must unite every 
thing proper for it's expansion, and determine at least the Ele- 
ment in which it must grow. Those accordingly which have 
grains extremely volatile, or furnished with tufts of down, 
pinions, sails, and the like, shall be referred to the Air. The\ 


gi-ow, in fact, in places exposed to the wind, as most part of the 
gramineous, of the thisde tribe, &c. Those which have fins, 
floaters, and other instruments of swimming, shall be assigned 
to the Water ; not only such as the fucus, the alga, and other 
sea-plants, but the cocoa tree, the walnut, the almond, and 
other vegetables which affect the water's edge. Those, finally, 
which, by their roundness, and other varieties of form, are 
adapted for rolling, springing, catching, and so on, and are sus- 
ceptible of various other movements, shall be allotted to the 
Earth, properly so called. 

This reference of plants to Geography, presents to us at 
once a great general order of easy comprehension, and a multi- 
tude of subdivisions, which we may run over, very agreeably, in 
detail. First, their genera divide themselves, like those of ani- 
mals, into aerial, aquatic, and terrestrial. Then, their classes 
are subdivided relatively to the Zones, and to the degrees of 
latitude of each Zone ; such are, to the South, the class of 
palms, and to the North, that of firs ; and their species to the 
territoiy of that Zone, according as it is champaig-n, mountain- 
ous, rocky, marshy, and so of the rest. Accordingly, in the 
class of palms, the cocoa-tree of the sea-shore, the latainer on 
the str^md, the date of the rocks, the palmist of the mountains, 
and the other species, crown the various sites of the torrid 
Zone ; whereas in that of firs, the pine, the spruce, the larch, 
the cedar, and the others, divide among themselves the empire 
of the North. This order, by putting eveiy vegetable in it's 
natural place, furnishes us, besides, with the means of tracing 
the use of all its parts; and, I am bold enough to affirm, of 
tracing the reasons which have determined Nature to vary 
their form, and to create so many species of the same genus, 
and so many varieties of the same species, by discovering to us 
the admirable correspondence which they have, in every lati- 
tude, with the Sun, the Winds, the Water, and the Earth. 

On this plan, we have a glimpse of the light which Geo- 
graphy may diffuse over the study of Botany ; and of the light 
with which Botany, in it's turn, may illuminate Geography ; 
for, supposing we were enabled to form botanical charts, in 
v/hich, by colours and signs, should be represented in each par- 
ticular country, the reign of each vegetable there produced, by 
detennining it's centre and limits, we might perceive at once 

STUDY I. 33 

the fecundity proper to each district. This knowledge would 
supply very ample means of rural economy, as we might sub- 
stitute to the indigenous plants which were there in greatest 
abundance, and most vigorous, such of our domestic plants as 
are of the same species, and which would there infallibly suc- 
ceed. Besides, these different classes of vegetables would, in 
their various natural arrangements, indicate the degrees of the 
humidity, of the dryness, of the cold, of the heat, and of the 
elevation of each district, with a precision which our barome- 
li;rs, thermometers, and other physical apparatus, can never at- 
attain. I omit a multitude of other relations, productive of 
pleasure and of utility, which would result from such classifi- 
cation, but which I shall endeavour to unfold in their proper 

In the FOURTH part, which treats of Arumab, I shall pur- 
sue the same track. I shall present, first, their relations to the 
Elements. Beginning with that of Fire, I shall consider the 
relation which they have to the Luminary which is the source 
of it, from their eyes furnished with lids and lashes, to mode- 
late the lustre of his light ; from that state of torpitude, called 
sleep, into which most of them fall, when he is no longer above 
the Horizon ; and by the colour of their skin, and the thick- 
ness of their furs, corresponding to their distance from hiin. 

We shall then trace the relations in which they stand to the 
Air, by their attitude, their weight, their lightness, and the or- 
gans of respiration ; to the Water, by the various curves of 
their bodies, the unctuosity of their hair and plumage, their 
scales and fins ; and, finally, to the Earth, by the form of their 
feet, sometimes forked, or armed with prongs and claws, adapt- 
ed to a hard soil, sometimes broad, or furnished with a hide, 
suited to a yielding soil, and by other means of progression, 
which Nature has varied in proportion to the obstacles which 
are to be surmounted. 

On the whole of this we shall observe, as in the case of 
Plants, that so many configurations, so different, far from being, 
in animids, mechanical effects of the action of the Elements in 
which they live, arc, on the contrary, almost always in the in- 
verse ratio of these very causes. Thus, for example, a great 
many fishes are cased in rough and hard shells, in the bosom 
of the waters ; and many animals, the inhabitants of the rocks. 

Vol. I. E 


are clothed with soft furs. We shall divide animals, therefore, 
as we did vegetables, by referring their genus to the Elements, 
their classes to the Zones, and their species, to the different 
districts of each Zone. This arrangement at once puts every 
animal in it's natural place ; but we shall reduce it to a fixed- 
ness of determination, still more precise, and more interesting, 
by referring the species of animal to that of the plant which a 
particular district produces in greatest abundance. 

Nature herself indicates this order. She has adapted to 
plants, the smelling, the mouths, the lips, the tongues, the jaws, 
the teeth, the beaks, the stomach, the chylification, the secre- 
tions which ensue, in a word, the appetite and instinct of ani- 
mals. It cannot indeed be affirmed with truth, that every spe- 
cies of animal lives on one single species of plant; but any 
person may convince himself, by experiment, that each of them 
prefers some one to every other, when permitted to choose. 
This preference is particularly remarkable at the season when 
the production of their young engages attention. Then they 
are determined in favour of that which provides them at once 
with nutriment, litter, and shelter, in the most perfect suitable- 
ness to their situation. Thus the goldfinch affects the thistle, 
and hence, in the French language, derives his name from that 
of the plant,* because he finds a rampart in it's prickly leaves, 
food in it's seeds, and materials for his nest in it's down. The 
bird-fly of Florida, for similar reasons, prefers the bignonia : 
this is a creeping plant, which finds it's way to the tops of the 
highest trees and frequently covers the whole trunk. He 
builds his nest in one of it's leaves, which he rolls into the 
form of a comet ; he finds his food in it's red flowers, resem- 
bling those of the foxglove, the nectareous glands of which he 
licks ; he plunges his little body into them, which appears in 
the heart of the flower, like an emerald set in coral ; and he 
gets in sometimes so far, that he suffers himself to be surprised 
there and caught, f 

* In French, goldfinch is chardonneret, and thistle chardon. 

t The bird-fly here spoken of is the common humming-bud of the -'Imeri. 
cans, (the trochilns colubris of Linnsus.) I do not think there is any foun- 
dation for the assertion, that it prefers the flowers of the bignonia radicans 
(trumpet-flower) to those of many other vegetables. It seems equally fond 

STUDY I. 35 

In the nests of animals then we shall look for their character, 
as we sought that of plants in their grains. It is from these 
we shall be enabled to determine the Element in which they 
must live, the proper site of their habitation, the aliment best 
adapted to their constitution, and the first lessons of industry, 
of love, or of ferocity, which they receive from their parents. 
The plan of their life is contained in their cradles. However 
strange these indications may appear, they are those of Nature, 
who seems to tell us, that we may distinguish the characters 
of her children, like her own, in the fruits of love, and the 
care which they take of their posterity. 

She frequently lodges under the same roof the vegetable and 
animal life, and unites the destiny of the one to that of the 
other. We see them bursting together from the same shell, 
blowing, expanding, propagating, dying, in a similar progres- 
sion. At the same instant of time they present, if I may be 
allowed the expression, the same metamorphoses. While the 
plant is unfolding in succession it's germs, it's buds, it's flowers, 
it's fruits, the insect is displaying successively, on one of it's 
leaves, the egg, the worm, the nymph, the butterfly, which 
contains, like it's parents, the seeds of its posterity, with those 
of the plant which nourished it. It is thus that Fable, far less 
marvellous than Nature, inclosed the life of the Dryad within 
the bark of the oak. 

These relations are so striking in insects, that Naturalists 
themselves, notwithstanding their prodigious number of isolated 
and indeterminable classes, have characterized some of them 
by the name of the plant on which they live ; such are the ca- 

of the flowers of diffci-ent species of horse-chesnut, those of the coral honey- 
suckle, the burgamot-flowcr, &c. I must not omit to mention a fact in regard 
to this bird, which S:iint-Pierre, had he knowni of it, would have adduced as 
an instance of his system of harmonics between the animal and vegetable world. 
The fact is this ; in the vicinity of Philadelphia, we may always confidently 
expect to see the fly-bird, as soon as the yellow horse-chesnut (which we call 
buck-eye) expands its blosssom : this is generally, about tlie end of April, 
or the beginning of May. The food of the fly-bird is not entirely the nec- 
tareous juice of flowers. I have elsewhere shown, tliat it lives, in part, upon 
minute insects. Saint-Pierre's account of tlie nest of the bird is altogether 
erroneous. It does not form its nest in tlie leaf of the bignonia, or of any 
other vegetable, but more commonly in the fork of some tree, well protect- 
ed, however, by a shade of leaves. — B. S. H. 


-terpillar of the tithymal, and the silk -worm of the mulberry. 
But I do not believe there is a single animal which deviates 
from this plan, not even excepting the carnivorous. Though 
the life of these last appears to be, in some measure, ingrafted 
on that of the living species, there is not one among them, but 
what makes use of some species of vegetable. This is observ- 
able not only in dogs, which feed on the grass that bears their 
name, and in wolves, foxes, birds of prey, which eat the plants 
denominated from the names of the respective animals, but 
even in the fishes of the sea, which are entire strangers to our 
Element. They are attracted at first to the banks, by insects 
whose spoils they collect, which establishes between them and 
vegetables intermediate relations ; afterwards by the plants them- 
selves, for most of them come to spawn on our coasts, only 
when certain plants are in flower, or in fruit. If these hap- 
pen to be destroyed, the fishes visit us no longer. 

Dem.s\ Governor of Canada, relates in his Natural History 
of North America, * that the cod which in shoals used to fre- 
quent the coasts of the Island of Muscou, disappeared in 1669, 
because in the year preceding the forests had been devoured 
by a conflagration. He remarks, that the same cause had pro- 
duced the same effect in different places. Though he ascribes 
the disappearance of these fishes to the particular effects of fire, 
and is in other respects a very intelligent writer, we shall de* 
monsirrate, by other curious observations, that it must have been 
occasioned by the destruction of the vegetables which used to 
attract them to the shore. Thus every thing in nature is in 
strict alliance. The Fauns, the Dryads, and the Nereids, 
walk every where hand in hand. 

What a charming spectacle would a botanical Zoolog}^ present? 
What unknov/n harmonies would be reflected from a plant to an ani- 
mal, and from an animal to a })lant ! What picturesque beauties 
would appear! What relations of utility, of every species, contri- 
buting either to pleasure or to profit, would result from it ! The in- 
troduction of a new plant into our fields, would be sufficient to 
allure a new set of songsters to our groves, and shoals of unknown 
fishes to the mouths of our rivers. Might it not be possible to in-. 
crease even the family of our domestic animals, by peopling 
the glacieres of the lofty niountains of Dauphine, and of Au- 

* Vol, ii. chap. 22. pag-e 350 

STUDY I. 37 

vergne, with herds of rein-deer, an animal so valuable in the 
northern parts of Europe ; or with the lama of Peru, who 
delights in the snows at the foot of the Andes, and whom Na- 
ture has clothed in the finest of wool ? A little moss, a few 
rushes of their own country, would be enough to fix them 
in ours. * 

Attempts have frequently been made, 1 admit, to propagate 
the breed of foreign animals in our parts, by observing even 
the choice of those species whose native climate came nearest 
to ours ; but they all languish and die, because no care was 
taken to transplant them with their proper vegetable. You see 
them always restless, with the head hanging down, scratching 
up the ground, as if demanding from it the nourishment which 
they had lost. A single herb would have been sufficient to 
quiet them, by recalling the tastes of their early life, the 
breezes which used to fan them, the cool fountains and refresh- 
ing shades of their native country : less unhappy, however, 
than Man, who can be cured of regret only by the total loss of 

In the FIFTH PART, we shall speak of Man. Every Work 
of Nature has presented to us hitherto only partial relations ; 
Man will furnish such as are universal. We shall examine, 
first, those in which he stands to the Elements. Beginning 
with that of Light and Fire, we shall observe, that his eyes 
are turned, not towards Heaven, as the Poets, and even some 

• There is much truth in these observations. In Saint-Pierre's accepta- 
tion of the word, the harmonies which subsist between plants and animals 
are certainly numerous, and highly interestmg'. How much would this 
amiable philosopher, have been delighted to have learned that a relation 
of this kind subsists between the beautiful Nelumbium, or great water- 
Uly of America, and the most intelligent of all quadrupeds, the Beaver. 
The beaver is not only exti-emely fond of the root of tlais fragi-ant and 
specious plant, but it is a fact that he seems, on some occasions, to follow 
the inigrations of the plant : that is, he forms new settlements in certain 
districts of countiy, into which the Nelumbium has been inU'oduced, ei- 
ther by the curiosity of man, or by accident. I believe the rein-deer might 
be naturalized in climates very far to the south of those in which nature 
has placed it : even in Pennsylvania and Virginia. It would here find an 
abundance of mosses ; and it is curious to observe, tliat one of the favom-- 
ite plants of the animal, even in Greenland, is extremely common in many 
parts of the United States ; I mean tlie mitcliella repens, called by Wi. 
deer-berry, partridge-berry, turkey -berry, &c.— vB SB. 


Philosophers allege, but to the Horizon ; so that he may view 
at once the Heaven which illuminates, and the Earth which 
suppoitjs him. His visual rsys take in near half of the celestial 
Hemisphere, and of the plane on which he treads, and their 
reach extends from the grain of sand, which he tramples under 
foot, to the star which shines over his head, at an immesura- 
ble distance. 

He alone, of animals, can enjoy equally the day and the 
night J he alone can bear to live within the torrid zone, ;\nd 
upon the ices of the frigid. If certain animals are partakers 
vrith him in these advantages, it is only by means of his instruc- 
tions, and under his protection. For all this he is indebted to 
the element of Fire, of Avhich he alone is the Sovereign Lord. 
Some Authors pretend, that certain of the brute creation under- 
stand the management of it, and that the monkeys in America 
keep up the fires kindled by travellers in the forests. No one 
denies that they love it's heat, and resort to it for warmth, 
when Man retires. But as they have perceived it's utility, 
Why have they not preserved the use of it ? However simple 
the manner of keeping up fire may be, by supplying it with 
fuel, not one of them will ever attain to that degree of sagacity. 
The dog, much more intelligent than the m.onkey, a wit- 
ness every hour of the effects of fire ; accustomed, in our kit- 
chens, to live only on meat that is dressed, if you give him 
raAV flesh, will never dream of going to roast it on the coals. 
This barrier, which separates Man from the brute, Aveak as 
it may appear, is insurmountable to animals. And this is one 
of the great blessings of Providence, bestowed for the general 
security ; for how many unforeseen and irreparable conflagra- 
tions would take place, were Fire at their disposal ? God has 
intrusted the first agent in Nature, to that being alone who, by 
his reason, is qualified to make a right use of it. 

While some Historians bestow this faculty on the brutes, 
others deny it to Man. They allege that many Nations 
were entirely destitute of it, till the arrival of the Europeans 
among them. To prove this, they quote the inhabitants of the 
Marianne Islands, otherwise called the Isle of Thieves, by a 
calumnious imputation so common among sailors. But this 
assertion is grounded on bare supposition; namely, on the 
very natural astonishment expressed by these Islanders, on 

STUDY I. 39 

seeing their villages set on fire by the Spaniards, ^ whom 
they had received with kindness. They contradict themselves, 
at the same time, by relating, that these very people used ca- 
noes, daubed over with bitumen, which necessarily supposes, 
in the case of savages unacquainted with iron, that fire had 
been employed in the hollowing of their canoes, or at least in 
careening them. Finally, we are told, that they fed on rice, 
the preparation of which, however simple, requires of neces- 
sity the application of fire. 

This Element is universally necessary to human existence, 
even in the hottest climates. By means of fire alone, Man 
guards his habitation by night from the ravenous beasts of prey : 
drives away the insects which thirst for his blood : clears the 
ground of the trees and plants which cover it, and whose stems 
and trunks would resist every species of cultivation, should he 
find means, any other way, to bring them down. In a word, 
in every country, with Fire he prepares his food, dissolves me- 
tals, vitrifies rocks, hardens clay, softens iron, and gives to all 
the productions of the Earth the forms and the combinations 
v/hich his necessities require. 

The benefits v/hich he derives from the Air are no less ex- 
tensive. Few animals are, like him, capable of respiring, with 
equal ease, at the level of the Sea, and on the summit of the lof- 
tiest mountains. Man is the only being who gives it all the 
modulations of which it is susceptible. With his voice alone 
he imitates the hissing, the cries, the singing of all animals • 
■while he enjoys the gift of speech, denied to every other. 
Sometimes he communicates sensibility to the Air; he makes it 
to sigh in the pipe, to complain in the flute, to threaten in the 
trumpet, and to animate to the tone of his passions, the brass, 
the box-tree, and the reed. Sometimes he makes it his slave ; 
he forces it to grind, to bruise, and to move, to his advantage, 
an endless variety of machinery. In a word, he yokes it to his 
car, and constrains it to v. aft him even over the billows of the 

That Element, in which few of the inhabitants of Earth ai-e 
able to live, and which stpmates their different ckisses, by a 

• See the History of their Discoveries, by Majrcllan ; the Histoiy of th.; 
Marianne Isles, by Father Gobicn, vol. ii. pui^c 44; and that of the Wcsf- 
Indics, by Ilerrera. vol. iii pagrs 10 and ,"12. 


boundary more insurmountable than that of Climate, pre- 
sents to Man alone the easiest of communications. He swims 
in it, he dives, he pursues the sea-monster to tiie abysses of the 
deep ; he hunts and stabs the ivhale even under mountains of 
ice ; and alights on every island in the bosom of the Sea, and 
asserts his empire over it. 

But he had no need of that which he exercises over Air and 
Water, to rendc-r his sovereignty universal. He has only to 
remain on the Earth v\fhere he was born. Nature has planted 
his throne on his cradle. Every thing that lives comes thither 
to pay him homage. There is not a vegetable but what fixes 
it's roots under his feet, not a. bird but there builds his nest, 
not a fish but there deposits her spawn. 

Whatever irregularity may cippear on the surface of his 
domain, he is the only being formed with the capacity of per- 
vading all it's parts. And what, in this respect, excites the 
highest admiration, there is established among all his limbs an 
equilibrium so perfect, so difficult to be preserved, so contrarj'^ 
to the laws of our mechanism, that there is no Sculptor capa- 
ble of forming a statue resembling Man, broader and heavier 
above than below, which shall be able to maintain an erect po- 
sition, and remain immovable, on a basis so small as his feet. 
It would be quickly overset by the slightest breath of wind. 
How much more then would be requisite to make it walk like 
Man? There is no animal whose body is susceptible of so 
many different movements ; and I am tempted to believe, that 
he unites in himself all the possible varieties of animal motion, 
on seeing how he bends, kneels, creeps, slides, swims, tumbles 
himself into the form of an arch, rounds himself like a wheel, 
like a bowl, walks, runs, leaps, springs, mounts, descends, 
climbs ; in a word, how his frame is equally adapted to clamber 
to the summit of the rock, and to walk on the surface of the 
snow ; to traverse the river and the forest, to pick the moss of 
the fountain, and the fruit of the palm-tree ; to feed the bee, 
and to tame the elephant. 

With all these advantages. Nature has collected in the human 
figure every thing that is lovely in colour and in form, whether 
from harmony or from contrast. To these she has added move- 
ments the most majestic and the most graceful. From an accu- 
rate observation of this, Virgil has been enabled to finish, by a 

STUDY I. 41 

master-stroke, the portrait of Venus disguised, talking with 
Eneas, who remained ignorant who she was, while beauty only 
was displayed, but distinguished her the instant she began to 
move: Vera incesru patuit Dea; " Her gait declared the God- 

The Author of Nature has united in Man every species of 
beauty, and has formed of these a combination so wonderful, 
that all animals, in their natural state, are struck, at sight of 
him, with love or with terror; this we shall demonstate by more 
than one curious remark. Thus, too, is fulfilled the Word 
which conferred on him the original sovereignty of the World :f 
" And the fear of you, and the dread of you shall be upon every 
" beast of the Earth, and upon every fowl of the Air, upon all 
" that moveth upon Earth, and upon all the fishes of the Sea: 
*•' into your hand are they delivered." 

As he is the only being who has the disposal of Fire, which 
is the principle of life, so he alone practises Agriculture, which 
is its support. All frugivorous animals have, like him, occasion 
for it, most of them the experience, but no one the practice. 
The ox never thinks of resowing the grain which he treads out 
on the barn-floor, nor the monkey, the maize of the field which 
he plunders. We are presented with far-fetched theories of the 
relations which may subsist between brutes and Man, in the 
view of reducing them to a level, while the trivial differences 
are over-looked, which are continually before our eyes, and in- 
terpose between us and them an immeasurable inter^'al, and 
which are the more wonderful, the more easy it appears to sur- 
mount the difficulty.:!: 

* Milton's description of Eve is still more characteristic of female majesty 
i^i motion : 

Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye ; 
In every gesture, dignity and love. 

Paradise Lost, book iv. 
f Genesis, ix. 2. 

t Certainly, the differences between brutes and man are numerous, and very 
gfreat. No sound pliilosopher seriously attempts to reduce the former to a 
" level" with the latter. But it is a task not imworthy of philosophers, nay 
it is the duty of the philosopher, to endeavour to discover .tlie "relations" 
whicii do actually subsist between the one and the other of these series of 
beings. And wliat will be the necessary result of all our inquiries on this 
subject ? That. man is, in many respects, allied to th? family of animals : 

Vol. I. ' F 


Every one of the brute creation is circumscribed within a 
narrow sphere of vegetables, and of means necessary to gather 
them. No one extends his industry beyond its instinct, be its 
Avants what they may. Man alone raises his intelligence up to 
that of Nature. He not only pursues her plans, but recedes 
from them. He substitutes others in their place. He covers 
regions destined for forests, with com and wine. He says to 
the pine of Virginia, and to the chesnut of India, " You shall 
grow in Europe." Nature seconds his efforts, and seems, by 
her complaisance, to invite him to prescribe laws to her. 

For him she has covered the Earth with plants, and though 
their species be infinite, there is not a single one but may be 
converted to his use. She has, first, selected some out of every 
class, to minister to his pleasure, or to his support, wherever he 
pleases to fix his habitation : from among the palm-groves of 
Arabia, the date ; among the ferns of the Moluccas, the sago ; 
among the reeds of Asia, the sugar-cane ; among the solanums 
of America, the yam ; among the lianne tribe, the vine ; among 
the papilionaceous, the French bean and the pea ; finally, the 
potatoe, the manioc, the maize, and an innumerable multitude 
of fruits, grains, and roots, proper for food, are distributed for 
him, in every family of vegetables, and over every latitude of 
the Globe. She permits the plants which are most useful to 
him to grow in all climates ; the domestic plants, from the cab- 
bage up to the com, alone, like man himself, are citizens of the 
World. The others serve for his bed, for his roof, for his 
clothing, for medicine, at least for fuel. And, in order that 
there might be no one but what should contribute to the support 
of his life, and that the distance or ruggedness of the soil in 
which they grow might interpose no obstacle to his enjoyment 
of them. Nature has formed ceitain animals to seek them out 
for him, and to convert them to his use. 

The animals are formed in the most wonderful manner, at 
once to live in situations the most rugged, and, animated by an 
instinct the most tractable, to associate with Man. The lama 

that he holds alliances by structure, by functions, by passions, by instincts, 
by manners ; tliat he ditrcrs from the brute chiefly in reg-avd to the quantity 
of his instincts ; and stiil more chiefly in the inestimable privileg-e of know- 
ing his Creator, throug-h the medium of his works, and throug-h the 
medium of Revelatiom. — B. S. B 

STUDY I. 43 

of Peru, with his forked feet, armed with two spurs, scrambles 
over the precipices of the Andes, and brings back to him his 
rose-coloured fleece. The rein-deer, with her broad and cloven 
hoof, traverses the snows of the North, and fills for him her 
dugs distended with cream, in the mossy pastures. The ass, 
the camel, the elephant, the rhinoceros, are detached on his ser- 
vice to the rocks, to the sands, to the mountains, and to the 
morasses of the torrid Zone. Every region is supporting a race 
of servants for him ; the roughest, the most robust ; the most 
patient, the most ungrateful. 

But animals alone, in which are united the greatest number 
of utilities, live with him over the whole face of the earth. The 
sluggish cow pastures in the cavity of the valley, the bounding 
sheep on the declivity of the hill. The scrambling goat browzes 
among the shrubs of the rock ; the hog, armed with a snout, 
turns up the foundation of the marshy ground, with the help of 
an appendage of spurs, which Nature has planted above his 
heels, to prevent his sinking in it; the swimming duck feeds on 
the fluviatic plants ; the hen, with attentive eye, picks up every 
grain scattered about, and lost in the field ; the pigeon, on rapid 
Aving, collects a similar tribute from the refuse of the grove, and 
the frugal bee turns to account, for the use of Man, even the 
small dust on the flower. 

There is no corner of the Earth where the whole vegetable 
crop may not be reaped. Those plants which are rejected by 
one, are a delicacy to another ; and even to the finny tribes, 
contribute to their fatness. The hog devours the horse-tail and 
hen-bane ; the goat, the thistle and hemlock. All return, 
in the evening, to the habitation of Man, with murmurs, with 
bleatings, with cries of joy, bringing back to him the delicious 
tribute of innumerable plants, trtmsformed, by a process the 
most inconceivable, into honey, milk, butter, eggs, and cream.* 

* Tlic g'oat devours, with impunity, vai-iovis species of deleterious plants, 
such (besides the hemlock long since noticed by Lucretius, and now by Saint- 
Pierre) as tlie Jamestown-weed, or Stramonium (datura stnimomtnn,) the 
tobacco, and other plantx curicLe. The common deer, (Cei-vus Vir^imanus) 
eats, and SQcms to fatten upon, the leaves of the Bi'oad-leaved Kaiiuia {Kal- 
mia latifolia) ; and tlie seeds of vai'ious species of poisonous plants are de- 
voured and disseminated by the Fasserin and otlier birds, to which they 
serve as condiments, if not as food. There is then, no extravagance in this 
part of our aulJior's work. Every plant is useful. That which we neglect. 


Man subjects to his dominion, not only the whole vegetable, 
but the whole animal creation, though their smallness, their 
swiftness, their sti-ength, their cunning, nay, the very Elements, 
may seem to exempt them from his jurisdiction. 

To begin with the infinite legions of insects : his duck and 
his hen feed upon them. These fowls swallow even various 
sorts of venomous reptiles, without sustaining the slightest in- 
jur)\ His dog subdues for him every other species of brute. 
The numerous varieties of that animal are evidently adapted to 
their several uses and ends; the shepherd's dog, for the wolf; 
the terrier, for the fox; the grey-hound, for animals of the 
plain ; the mastiff, for those of the mountain ; the pointer, for 
birds ; the water-spaniel, for the amphibious race ; in a word, 
from the little lap-dog of Malta, formed only for amusement, 
up to the huge hunter of the Indies, who, according to Pliny and 
Plutarch, scorns to attack any thing inferior to the lion or the 
elephant, and whose breed still subsists among the Tartars, their 
species are so varied in form, in size, in respect of instinct, that 
I am constrained to believe Nature has produced as many sorts 
of them, as she has produced animal species to be subjugated. 
We cross the breed of cats, of goats, of sheep, of horses, a 
thousand diffei-ent ways ; and after all our efforts and combina- 
tions, we can produce only a few trivial varieties, which deserve 
in no respect to be compared with the natural varieties of the 
canine species. 

While some Philosophers assign to every species of dog a 
common origin, others ascribe a difference of origin to iVIan. 
Their system is founded on the variety of size and colour in the 
human species ; but neither colour nor stature are distinctive 
characters, in the judgment of all Naturalists. According to 
them, colour is merely accidental ; superior stature only a greater 
expansion of forms. Difference of species arises from the dif- 
ference of proportions: now this characterizes that of dogs. 

or weed up, and throw away, as useless or pernicious, is only useless or per- 
nicious, relatively considered. The seed of the Fox-Glove and Stramonium 
kill turkeys and other species of birds : but these plants fatten some species 
of animals, and are inestimable ag-ents in the hands of physicians, as reme- 
dies for the cure of various diseases. The time will come, and all the well- 
directed efforts of science are fast hastening- this period, when one of the 
best defences of Provident nature wiU be offered to us, by the cultivators of 
rational Botanv.— B. S. B. 

STUDY I. 45 

The proportions of the human body no where vary ; the black 
colour within the Tropics is simply the effect of the heat of the 
Sun, which tinges him in proportion as he approaches the line. 
And it is, as w^e shall see, one of the blessings of Nature. His 
size is invariably the same in evei7 age, and in all places, not- 
withstanding the influence of food and cUmate, by which other 
animals are so powerfully affected. There are breeds of horses 
and of black cattle, double the size the one of the other, as any 
one may be convinced, by comparing the large artillery horses 
of Holstein with the small poneys of Sardinia, no taller than 
sheep ; and the huge Flanders ox with the diminutive one of 
Bengal ; but from the tallest to the shortest of the human race, 
there is not at most the difference of a foot. Their stature is the 
same at this day as it was in the time of the Egyptians ; and the 
same at Archangle as in Africa, as is evident from the length of 
mummies, and that of the tombs of the ancient Indians foimd in 
Siberia along the banks of the river Petzora. 

The somewhat contracted stature of the Laplanders is to be 
imputed, I presume, to their sedentary mode of living ; for I 
have observed among ourselves a similar contraction of size in 
persons of certain occupations, which require little exercise. 
That of the Patagonians, on the contrary, is more expanded 
than that of the Laplanders, though they inhabit a latitude as 
cold, from their greater disposition to be moving about. The 
Laplander passes the greater part of the year shut up amidst his 
herds of rein-deer; whereas the Patagonian is perpetually a 
stroller, for he lives entirely by hunting and fishing. Besides, 
the first travellers to whom we are indebted for our knowledge 
of these two nations, have greatly exaggerated the smallness ol 
the one, and the magnitude of the other, because they saw the 
Laplanders squatted on the floor of their smoky huts ; and the 
Patagonians in a position which magnifies every object, namely, 
at a distance, on the summit of their rocky shores, whither the) 
flock as soon as a vessel appears, and through the fogs which 
are so frequent in their climates, and which it is well known 
greatly increase the apparent size of all bodies, especially when 
in the Horizon, by refracting tlie light wherewith they are sur- 

The Swedes and Norwegians, who inhabit similar latitudes, 
in which the cold prevents, as it is alleged, the expansion of the 


human body, are of the same stature with the natives of Sene- 
gal, where the heat, for the opposite reason, ought to favour 
growth; and neither the one nor the other is taller than we are. 
Man over the whole Globe is at the centre of all magnitudes, 
of itll movements, and of all harmonies. His stature, his limbs, 
his organs, have proportions so adjusted to all the works of Na- 
ture, that she has rendered them invariable as their combination. 
He constitutes himself alone a genus which has neither class nor 
species, dignified, by way of excellence, with the title of Man- 


He forms a real family, all the members of which are scatter- 
ed over the face of the Earth, to collect her productions, and 
are capable of containing a most wonderful correspondence, 
adapted to their mutual necessities. Man has been in every 
age the friend of Man, not merely from the interests of com- 
merce, but by the more sacred, the more indissoluble bands of 
Humanity. Sages appeared two or three thousand years ago 
in the East, and their wisdom is now illuminating us at the re- 
motest verge of the West. To-day a savage is oppressed in the 
wilds of America ; he sends his arrow round from family to 
family, from nation to nation, and the flame of war is kindled 
in the four quarters of the Globe. We are all bondsmen for 
each other. 

We shall frequendy recur to this great truth, which is the 
basis of the morality of Subjects as well as of Sovereigns. The 
happiness of every individual is attached to the happiness of 
Mankind. He is under obligation to exert himself for the gene- 
ral good, because his own depends upon it. But interest is not 
the only motive which renders virtue a duty to him ; to Nature 
he is indebted for its sublimest lessons. Being bom destitute 
of instinct, he was laid under the necessity of forming his intel- 
lect on her productions. He could imagine nothing but after 
the models of eveiy kind with which she had presented him. 
He was instructed in devising and perfecting the mechanic Arts, 
from plans suggested by the industry of animals ; and in the 
liberal Arts and Sciences, after the model of Nature's OAvn im- 
mediate harmonies and plans. To her sublime studies he is 
indebted for a light which illumines no other animal. Instinct 
discovers to the animal its necessities only ; but Man alone has- 

STUDY I. 47 

raised himself from the dark womb of profound ignorance, to 
the knowledge and belief of a GOD. 

This knowledge has not been confined to a Socrates, or a Plato ; 
No, they have it in common with Tartars, Indians, Savages, 
Negroes, Laplanders; with men of every description. It is 
the result of eveiy contemplation, whatever be the object, of a 
grain of moss, or of the Sun. On it are founded all the asso- 
ciations of the human race, without a single exception. 

As Man has formed his intellect on that of Nature, he has 
been obliged to regulate his moral sense by that of her Author. 
He felt that in order to please Him who is the principal of all 
good, it was necessary to contribute to the general good ; hence 
the efforts made by Man in ever}'^ age to raise himself to GOD 
by the practice of virtue. This religious character, which dis- 
tinguishes him from every other sensible being, belongs more 
properly to his heart than to his understanding. It is in him not 
so much an illumination as a feeling, for it appears independent 
even of the spectacle of Nature, and manifests itself with equal 
energy in those who live most remote from it, as in those who 
are continually enjoying it. The sensations of the infinity', of 
the universality, of the glory, and of the immortality with which 
it is connected, are incessantly agitating the inhabitants of the 
city, as well as those of the country. Man, feeble, miserable, 
mortal, indulges himself every where in these celestial passions. 
Thidier he directs without perceiving it, his hopes, his fears, 
his pleasures, his pains, his loves ; and passes his life in pursuing 
or in combating these fugitive impressions of Deity. 

Such is the career which I have prescribed to myself. But 
as on a long voyage we sometimes perceive on our way flowery 
isles in the bosom of a great river, and enchanting groves on the 
summit of inaccessible precipices ; in like manner, the progress 
we shall make in the study of Nature, will gradually disclose to 
us some delightful prospects. With these we shall at least feast 
the eye as we pass along, if we are not permitted to stop and 
survey them at leisure. We shall have frequent occasion to 
remark, that the works of Nature exhibit contrasts, harmonies, 
and transitions, which wonderfully unite their different empires 
to each other. 

We shall examine by what magic it is that the contrasts are 
productive at once of pleasure and pain, of friendship and ha- 


tred, of existence and destruction. From them proceeds that 
great principle of Love, which divides all the individuals into 
two great classes, objects loving, and objects beloved. This 
principle extends from animals and plants, which are distin- 
guished by sex, down to insensible fossils; as metals, which 
have magnetic powers, most of which are still unknown to us ; 
and from salts which strive to unite in the fluids where they 
swim, up to the Globes which have a mutual attraction in the 
Heavens. It opposes individual to individual by difference of 
sex, and genus to genus by difference of forms, in order to ex- 
tract from them harmonies innumerable. 

In the Elements, Light is opposed to Darkness, Heat to 
Cold, Earth to Water, and their accords produce lights, tempe- 
ratures, views, the most agreeable. In vegetables we shall see, 
in the forests of the North, the thick and gloomy foliage, the 
tranquil attitude, and the pyramidical form of the fir, contrast 
with the tender verdure and moveable foliage of the birch, 
which, from it's spreading top and slender base, presents the 
appearance of a pyramid inverted. The forests of the South 
will exhibit similar harmonies, and we shall find them even in 
the herbage of our meadows. 

The same oppositions reign in the animal kingdom ; and to 
instance only in such as are most familiar to us, the bee and 
the butterfly, the hen and the duck, the indigenous sparrow and 
rambling swallow, the nimbler courser and sluggish ox, the pa- 
tient ass and capricious goat, in a word, the cat and the dog, 
display an endless contrast on our flower-beds, in the meadow, 
in our houses, of forms, of movements, of instincts. 

I do not comprehend in these harmonical oppositions the 
carnivorous animals, which make war on the others, and whose 
corresponding intercourse regards them not as living, but as 
dead. I understand by contrast, that which Nature has estab- 
lished between two classes, diff"erent in manner, in inclinations, 
and in figures, and to which nevertheless she has given certain 
secret sympathetic sensibilities, which engage them in their na- 
tural state to inhabit the same places, to associate together, and 
to live in peace. Such is the contrast of the horse, who de- 
lights to gallop about in the same field where the ox walks 
gravely on, ruminating as he goes. Such again is that of the 
^s, who well-pleased follows, with a slow aud measured pace, 

STUDY I. 49 

the nimble-footed goat up to the very precipices over which she 
scrambles. From the bee and the butterfly, up to the elephant 
and the camelopard, there is not a single animal on the Earth 
but what has it's contrast, Man only excepted. 

The contrasts of Man are all within himself. Two opposite 
passions. Love and Ambition, balance all his actions. To Lo\'e, 
are referable all the pleasures of the senses ; to Ambition, all 
those of the soul. These two passions are in perpetual coun- 
terpoise in the same subject; and while the first is accumulating 
on Man every kind of corporeal enjoyment, and insensibly 
sinking him below the level of the beasts ; the second prompts 
him to aim at universal dominion, and to exalt himself at length 
up to the Deity. These two contradictory effects are observ- 
able in all men who have it in their power, without obstruction, 
to follow these opposite impulses, whether in the class of Kings 
or that of slaves. The Neros^ the Caligulas^ the Domitians^ 
lived like brutes, and exacted the adoration due to Gods. We 
find in Ncgi'oes the same incontinence, the same pride, and the 
same stupidity. 

Nature, however, has bestowed these two passions on Man 
as a source of happiness. She produces an equal number of 
each sex, in order to direct the love of every man to a single 
object, and in that object she has united all the harmonies 
which are scattered over her most beautiful productions. 
There is between Man and Woman a wonderful analogy of 
forms, of inclinations, and of tastes ; but there is a difference 
still greater of these very qualities. Love, as we shall have 
occasion to observe, results only from contrasts, and the great- 
er they are the more powerful is it's energy. I could easily 
demonstrate this, by the evidence of a thousand historical facts. 
It is well known for example, with what a mad excess of pas- 
sion that tall and clumsy soldier Mark Antony loved and was 
beloved by Cleopatra; not the person whom our Sculptors rep- 
resent of a tall, jx)rtly, sabine figure, but the Cleopatra whom 
Historians paint as little, lively, sprightly, carried in disguise 
about the streets of Alexandria in the night-time, packed up in 
a parcel of goods on the shoulders of Apollodoriis to keep an 
assignation with jfulius Coesar. 

The influence of contrasts in Love is so certain, that on see- 
ing the lover it \\ ould be easily possible to draw the portrait of 

Vol. L G 


the beloved object without heu hig seen it, provided only it were 
known that the passion was extremely violent. Of this I my- 
self have made proof on various occasions : among others, in a 
city where I was entirely a stranger. A gentleman of the 
place, one of my friends, cairied me to visit his sister, a very 
virtuous young lady, and he informed me as we were going 
that she was violently in love. Being arrived at her apart- 
ments, and Love happening to become the subject of conver- 
sation, it came into my head to say to her that I knew the laws 
which determined our choice in love, and that if she would 
permit me I could draw her lover's picture, though he was ut- 
terly unknown to me. She bid me defiance : upon this, taking 
the opposite to her tall and buxom figure, to her temperament 
and character, which her brother had been describing to me, I 
painted her favourite as a little man not overloaded with flesh, 
with blue eyes and fair hair, somewhat fickle, eager after infor- 
mation. Every w^ord 1 uttered made her blush up to the eyes, 
and she became seriously angry with her brother, accusing him 
of having betrayed her secret. This however was not the case, 
and he was fully as much astonished as herself. 

These observations are of more importance than we gene- 
rally irriagine. They will enable us to demonstrate to what a de- 
gree our Institutions deviate from the Laws of Nature, and 
weaken the power of Love, when they assign to Woman the 
studies and the employments of IVIan. Virtue alone knows 
how to turn these contrasts to good account in the married 
state, in which the duties of the two sexes are so very different. 
There too she presents to their natunil ambition a career the 
most sublime in the education of her children, whose reason 
it is their duty to form ; and their sweetest recompense to re- 
ceive in exchange the first sentiments of filial affection. In 
the hearts of their children their memory is to be perpetuated 
on the earth, in a manner more affecting and infinitely more in- 
delible than the memory of Kings on public monuments. What 
power can equal that which confers existence and the power of 
thought ; and what recollection can last so long as that of filial 
gratitude ? 

The government of a good King has been cofnpared to that 
of a Father ; but the empire of a virtuous Father can be com- 
pared only to that of God himself. Virtue is to Man the true 

STUDY I. 51 

law of Nature. It is the harmony of all harmonies. Virtue 
alone can render Love sublime and Ambition beneficent. It 
can derive the purest gratification even from privations the 
most severe. Rob it of Love, Friendship, Honour, the Sun, 
the Elements, it feels that under the administration of a Being 
just and good, abundant compensation is resened for it, and it 
acquires an increase of confidence in GOD even from the cru- 
elty and injustice of Man. It was virtue that supported in 
ever)' situation of life an Antoninus, a Socrates, an E^ictetus, a 
Fenclon; that rendered them at once the happiest and, the most 
respectable of Mankind. 

If on the one hand Nature has established contrasts in all her 
works, on the other she has deduced from them harmonies 
v.'hich re-unite them all again. It would appear that having 
fixed upon a model, it v/as her intention to communicate to all 
places a participation jn it's beauty. The light and disk of the 
Sun are accordingly reflected a thousand different ways by the 
planets in the heavens, by the parhelions and rainbow in the 
clouds, by the Aurora-borealis in the ices of the North ; in a 
word, by the refractions of the Atmosphere, the reflexes of the 
waters, and the specular reflexions of most bodies on the 
Earth. The islands in the midst of the Ocean represent the 
mountainous forms of the Continent ; and the mediterranean 
Seas and Lakes in the bosom of mountains represent the vast 
plains of the mighty Deep. 

Trees in the climate of India affect the port of herbs ; and 
the herbs in our gardens that of trees. A multitude of flowers 
seem modelled after the rose and the lily. Among our do- 
mestic animals the cat appears to be formed on the model of 
the tyger, the dog on that of the wolf, the sheep on that of the 
camel. Eveiy species has it's correspondent. Mankind only 
excepted. That of the monkey, which some would make a va- 
riety of the human species, has relations much more direct to 
other animals. The man of the woods, with his long arms, his 
meagre feet, his fleshless paws, his flattened nose, his lipless 
mouth, his round eyes, his abominable hairy coat, has certainly 
a very imperfect resemblance to the Apollo of the Vatican ; 
and whatever inclination one might have to reduce Man to the 
beast, it would be difficult to find in the female of that animal, 
a second model of the human figure, which should coutj near 


the Venus de Medicis, or the Diana of AUegrain, which is 
shewn at Lucienne. But I have seen monkeys which had a 
strong resemblance to the bear, as the bavian of the Cape of 
Good Hope ; or to the greyhound as the Maki of Madagascar. 
Some are formed like little lions ; such is a very handsome 
white species with a mane found in Erasil. I presume that most 
species of quadrupeds, especially among the ferocious kinds, 
have their counterparts in those of the monkey tribe. 

These same correspondencies are likewise discernible in the 
numerous variety of parrots, which in their forms, their bills, 
their claws, their scream, and their sports, imitate for the most 
])art birds of prey. Finally, they extend even to the plants, 
denominated for this reason mimosas^ which represent in their 
flowers, or in the aggi'egation of their grains, insects and reptiles, 
such as snails, flies, caterpillars, lizards, scorpions, and so on. 

Nature in forming and presenting these correspondencies 
must have some intention which I do not comprehend. What 
is very remarkable, they are common only between the Tro- 
pics, M here the forests sv/arm with every species of the mon- 
key and parrot race. Perhaps she meant to exhibit under 
harmless forms those of the noxious animals vrhich are there 
found in great numbers, in order to expose to the light of day 
the terrible figure of those sons of darkness and carnage, and 
that none of her productions should remain concealed in the 
womb of Night from the eyes of Man. 

WTiatever may be in this, no one animal on the face of the 
Earth is formed on the noble proportions of the human figure ; 
and if Man under the impulse of passion frequently degrades 
himself to the level of the beasts, his restlessness, his intelli- 
ji-ence, and his sublime affections sufficiently demonstrate that 
he himself is the counterpart of the Deity. 

Finally, the spheres of all beings have a communication by 
means of rays which seem to unite their extremities. We 
shall remark in the stalactites and chrj'stallizations of fossils, 
the processes of vegetation ; and I think we may perceive even 
the movement of animals in that of their magnetic influence. 
On the other hand, we shall see plants forming themselves af- 
ter the manner of fossils without any apparent organization ; 
such is, among others, the truffle, which has neither leaves, nor 
ffowers, nor roots. Others represent in their flowers the figure 

STUDY I. 55 

of animals, as the orchites ; or their sensibility, as the sensi- 
tive plant, which lets fall and shuts it's leaves at the slightest 
touch ; or their instinct, as the dioncea muscipiila^ which catches 
flics. The petals of this plant are formed of opposite little 
leaves, impregnated with a sugary substance which attracts the 
flies ; but the instant they alight, these little leaves suddenly 
close together with a spring, like the jaws of a fox-trap, and 
pierce the fly with their prickly edges. 

There are others still more astonishing, as having within 
themselves the principle of motion ; such is the hedysarwn mo- 
vens., or biinan diandali^ imported some years ago from Bengal 
into England. This plant moves alternately the two pendent 
lobes which are attached to it's leaves, though no exterior or 
apparent cause contributes to this species of oscillation.* 

13 ut without going so far in quest of wonders, we shall find 
perhaps in our common gardens appearances of Nature still 
more surprizing. We shall see the pea, for example, pushing 
out it's tendrils precisely at the height where they begin to 
stand in need of support, and curling them round the boughs 
with an address which can hardly be ascribed to chance. These 
relations seem to suppose intelligence ; but we shall find others 
still more amiable, which are a demonstration of goodness not 
in the vegetable but in the hand which formed it. The sijlpJiiunt 
of our gardens is a great ferulaceous plant, which resembles on 
the first glance what is known by the name of the sun-flower. 
It's capacious leaves are opposed at the base, and their cavities 
uniting form an oval cup, in which the rain-water collects to 

* The burum chandali, here spoken of, is the plant called by Linnreus, hedy- 
tarnm gijrdns. It is a native of the country along- the Ganges, in India. " It 
has trifohate leaves, of which the central one is largej" than the two others. 
All tlicse leaves move spontaneously ; the large one rises backward up and 
down, the two smaller leaves at the sides have the same movement, only some- 
what stronfrcr. Laying hold of these leaves, and then i-emovlng' the hand, 
quickens their motions, as if llicy were to make up for the lost time, till at last 
tiiey return to tlieir former slower motion. No particular stimulus seems to 
act on them, and they do not contract, like other irritable plants. Nor does 
this motion of the loaves depend on sun-light, for they move in light as well 
as in the dark, even when tiie leaves are perfectly asleep. It is besides rc- 
markabl.-, that the leaves in the height of erection, and during very warm 
but serene days, like tlic animal muscular fibre, shew a ti-emulous mo- 
tion.— B. S. B. 


the quantity of a pretty large glass-full. They are placed in 
stories, not in the same direction, but at right angles, in order 
to receive the rain-water that falls in the whole extent of their 
circumference. It's square stem is very commodious for being 
firmly caught by the claws of birds ; and it's flowers produce 
seeds of which many of them are excessively fond, particularly 
the thrush. So that this whole plant, like the perch of a par- 
rot-cage, presents at once to the birds a resting-place and meat 
and drink. 

We shall likcAvise speak of the smell and taste of plants. We 
shall remark under these relations a great number of botanical 
characters which are not the least certain. It was from the 
smell and taste that Man acquired the first knowledge of their 
poisonous, medicinal, or nvitritive qualities. Nay, the very 
sounds of plants are not to be overlooked ; for when agitated 
by the winds most of them emit sounds peculiar to themselves, 
and which produce harmonies or contrasts the most agreeable 
with the sites of the places where they usually grow. In In- 
dia the hollow canes of the bamboo which shade the banks of 
rivers imitate, as they rustle against each other, the gushing 
noise excited by the motion of a ship through the water ; and 
the pods of the cinnamon agitated by the winds on the moun- 
tain's top, the tic-tac of a mill. The moveable leaves of the 
poplar convey to our ears in the wood the bubbling of a brook. 
The green meadows and the calm forests fanned by the ze- 
phyrs represent in the hollow of the valley, and on the declivi- 
ty of the rock, the undulations and murmurs of the w aves of 
the sea breaking on the shore. The early inhabitants of the 
Globe, struck with these mysterious sounds, imagined that they 
heard oracles pronounced from the trunk of the oak, and that 
Nymphs and Dryads inclosed in the rugged bark, inhabited 
the mountain of Dodona. 

The sphere of animals extends still farther these wonderful 
harmonies. From the motionless shelly race, which pave and 
strengthen the capacious bed of the Sea, to the fly who wings 
his way by night over the plains of the torrid Zone, glittering 
with rays of light like a star, you will find in them the configu- 
ration of rocks, of vegetables, of stars. A thousand ineffable 
passions, a thousand instincts animate them, which they express 

STUDY I. sa 

m songs, in cries, in hummings, nay, even in the articulate 
sounds of the human voice. 

Some of them compose noisy republics, others live in a pro- 
found solitude. The whole life of some is employed in waging 
war, that of others in making love. 

In their combats they use every imaginable species of ar- 
mour, and every possible method of availing themselves of the 
weapons with which Nature has furnished them, from the por- 
cupine, who darts his pointed arrows at the foe, to the torpedo, 
who invisibly smites his assailant as with a stroke of electricit}'. 

Their loves are not less varied than their animosities. One 
must have his seraglio ; another is satisfied with a transient 
mistress ; a third unites himself to a faithful companion, whom 
he never abandons till death makes the separation. Man unites 
in his enjoyments their pleasures and their transports ; and, sa- 
tiated, sighs and demands of Heaven felicity of a different kind. 

We shall examine simply by the light which reason supplies, 
whether Man subjected by his body to the condition of the ani- 
mal creation, all whose necessities he unites in himself, is not 
by his soul allied to creatures of a superior order: whether 
Nature, who has assigned the jurisdiction of the immensity of 
her productions on the Earth to a being naked, destitute of 
instinct, and who must undergo an apprenticeship of several 
years in learning to walk only, has reduced him from his birth 
to the alternative of studying their qualities or of perishing ; 
and whether she has not reserved to herself some extraordinary 
means of interposing for his relief amidst the evils of every 
kind which checker his existence, even among beings of the 
same species with himself. 

On reviewing the transitions which unite the different king- 
doms, and which extend their limits to regions hitherto un- 
known, we shall not adopt the opinion of those who believe 
that the works of Nature being tlie results of all possible com- 
binations, must present every possible mode of existence. " You 
" will find in them, say they, order, and at the same time dis- 
" order. Throw about the characters of the alphabet in an 
" infinite variety of manners, and }'ou shall form of them the 
" Iliad, and poems superior even to the Iliad j but you will 
*' have at the same time an infinity of formless assemblages." 
"^Ve adopt this comparison, observing however that the suppo- 


sition of the twenty-four letters of the alphabet suggests a pre- 
vious idea of order, which it was necessary to admit as a foun- 
dation even to the hypothesis of chance. If then the multi- 
plied throAvs of these twenty-four letters gave in fact an infinite 
number of poems good and bad, how many must principles 
much more numerous of existence in itself, such as the ele- 
ments, colours, surfaces, forms, depths, movements, produce of 
different modes of existing, were we to take but a single hun- 
dred of the modifications of each primordial combination of 
matter ! 

We should have at least the general transitions of the dif- 
ferent kingdoms. We should see plants walking on foot like 
animals ; animals fixed in the earth by roots like plants ; rocks 
with eyes ; herbs which vegetated only in air. The chief in- 
ter\^als of the spheres of existence would be filled up. There 
exists nothing but what is useful relatively to Man. The same 
order which pervades the general combination of the spheres, 
subsists in the parts of each of the individuals which compose 
them. There is not a single one which has in its organs either 
deficiency or redundancy. 

Their mutual adaption is so perceptible, and they possess 
characters so very striking, that if you were to shew to a Natu- 
ralist of ability any representation of a plant or of an animal 
which he had never seen, he could tell from the harmony of it's 
parts whether it were a creature of the imagination, or a copy 
after Nature. One day the students in Botany, wishing to put 
to trial the knowledge of the celebrated Bernard de Jussieu. 
presented to him a plant which was not in the collection of the 
Royal Garden, requesting him to indicate it's genus and spe- 
cies. The moment he cast his eyes on it, he replied " This 
" plant is artificially composed ; you have taken the leaves of 
" one, the stalk of another, and the flower of a third." This 
Avas the fact. They had, however, selected with the greatest 
art the parts of such as had the most striking analog}^ 

I am confident to affirm, that by the method which I shall 
propose the Science may be carried still much farther, and that 
we shall be enabled by it to determine, at the sight of an un- 
known plant, the nature of the soil in which it grew ; whether 
It is a native of a hot or cold country ; whether it is an inhabi- 

STUDY I. 57 

taut of the mountain or of the stream ; and perhaps even the 
animal species to which it is particularly allied. 

In studying these laws, most of which are unknown or ne- 
glected, we shall reject others which are founded only on par- 
ticular observations, and which have been too much generaliz- 
ed. Such are, for example, the following ; that the number 
and fecundity of created beings are in the inverse ratio of their 
magnitude ; and that the time of their decay is in proportion to 
that of their increase. We shall shew that there are mosses 
less prolific than the fir, and shell-fish less numerous than 
whales : such is, to name only one, the hammer-fish. There 
are animals which grov/ very fast, and decay ver)' slowly : this 
is the case of most fishes. I should never have done, if I 
went about to prove that the longevity, the strength, the size, 
the fecundity, the form of every being, is adapted in a most 
wonderful manner not only to it's individual happiness, but to 
the general happiness of all, from which results that of Mankind. 

We shall likewise reject those analogies so commonly admit- 
ted, which are drawn from climate and soil, in order to explain 
all the operations of Nature by mechanical causes j for I shall 
demonstrate that she frequently produces in these both vege- 
tables and animals, whose qualities are diametrically opposite 
to those of their climate and soil. 

The tubulous and driest plants, such as reeds, rushes, as well 
as the birch, whose bark, similar to leather overlaid with oil, is 
incorruptible by humidity, grow by the water sides, like boats 
provided for crossing over. On the contrary, plants with the 
richest juices, and the most humid, grow in the driest situa- 
tions, such as the aloe, the taper of Peru, and the lianne im- 
pregnated with water; which are to be found only on the 
parched rocks of the torrid Zone, where Natvu-e has placed 
them like so many vegetable fountains. 

Even the instincts of animals appear to be less adapted to 
their own personal utility, than to that of Man ; and are some- 
times in harmony with the nature of the soil which they in- 
habit, and sometimes in opposition to it. The gluttonous hog- 
delights to live in the mire, from which he is intended to purify 
the habitation of Man; and the sober camel, to force his wav 
through the burning sands of Africa, impervious but for him 
to evtrv eftbrt of the traveller. The appetites of these ani- 

Voi..' I. H 


mals do not grow out of the places which they inhabit ; for the 
ostrich, who is a fellow-tenant of the same desert with the 
camel, is still more voracious than the hog. 

No one lav/ of magnetism, of gravity, of attraction, of elec- 
tricity, of heat, or of cold, governs the vv-orld. These pretended 
general laws are nothing more than particular qjeans. Our 
Sciences mislead us, by ascribing to Nature a false providence. 
They put the balance into her hand, it is true, but not of justice ; 
no, it is only the balance of commerce. They weigh only the 
salts and the masses, but put aside the wisdom, the intelligence, 
iuid the goodness. They are not afraid of excluding from the 
heart of Man that sentiment of the divine qualities, which 
communicates to him so much force ; and of accumulating on 
his mind the weights and movements which oppress him. They 
put in opposition the squares of times and velocities, but 
they neglect those wonderful compensations with which Na- 
ture interposes for the relief of all beings, having bestowed the 
most ingenious on the most feeble, the most abundant on the 
poorest, and having united all for the relief of the Human Race, 
vindoubtedly as being the most wretched species of all. 

We can know that only which Nature makes us feel ; and 
we can form no judgment of her works but in the place, and 
at the time she is pleased to display them. All that we ima- 
gine beyond this, presents only contradiction, doubt, error, or 
absurdity. I do not except from this description even our ima- 
ginary plans of perfection. For example, it is a tradition 
common to all Nations, supported by the testimony of the Holy 
Scriptures, and founded on a natural feeling, that Man has 
lived in a better order of things, and that we are destined to 
another, which is still to surpass it. We are incapable, how- 
ever, of saying any thing of either the one or the other. It 
is impossible for us to retrench any thing from that in which we 
live, or to add any thing to it, without rendering our condi- 
tion worse. Whatever Nature has introduced into it is neces- 
sary. Pain and death are among the proofs of her goodness. 
But for pain, we should be bruising ourselves every step we 
took without perceiving it. But for death, new beings could 
not be raised into existence ; and supposing those which already 
are in the world could be rendered eternal, that eternity would 
mvolve m it the ruin of generations, of the configuration of 

STUDY I. 59 

the two sexes, and of all the relations of conjugal, filial, and 
parental affection ; that is to say, of the whole system of actual 

In vain do we search in our cradles for the archives which 
our tombs deny us : the past, like the future, covers our mys- 
terious destiny with an impenetrable veil. In vain do we apply 
to it the light which illumines us, and seek in the origin of 
things the weights, the times, and the measures, which we 
find in their enjoyment ; but the order which produced them 
has with relation to God neither time, nor weight, nor measure. 
The divisions of matter and time were made only for circum- 
scribed, feeble, transient Man. The universe, said Newton^ 
was produced at a single cast. We are seeking for youth in 
what was always old, for old age in what is always young, for 
germs in species, births in generations, epochs in nature ; but 
when the sphere in which we live issued from the hand of it's 
divine Author, all times, all ages, all proportions, manifested 
themselves in it at once. 

In order that Etna might vomit out it's fires, from the very 
first construction of those tremendous furnaces, lavas must 
have been provided which had not yet begun to flow. In order 
that the Amazonian river might still roll it's streams across 
America, the Andes of Peru must have been from the begin- 
ning covered with the snows which the winds of the East had 
not yet accumulated upon them. In the bosom of new-created 
forests ancient trees must have sprung up, that insects and 
birds might find their proper aliment on the antique rind. 
Carrion must have been created for the support of carnivo- 
rous animals. There must have been produced in all the 
kingdoms of Nature beings young, old, living, dying, and 
dead. All the parts of this immense fabric must have ap- 
peared at the same instant ; if there was a scaffolding, to us it 
has disappeared. 

Let others extend the boundaries of our Sciences, I shall con- 
sider myself as having rendered a more useful service to my 
fellow-creatures, if I am enabled to fix those of our ignorance. 
Our illumination, like our virtue, consists in descending : and 
our force in becoming sensible of our feebleness. If I do not 
pursue the road which Nature has reserved for herself, I shall 
at least walk in that which Man ought to take. It is the only 


one \\hich presents him easy observations, useful discoveries, 
enjoyments of every description, without instruments, without 
a cabinet, without metaphysics, and without system. 

In order to be convinced how agreeable it is, let us construct, 
in conformity to our method, any group, with the sites, the 
vegetables, and the animals, most commonly to be found in our 
Climates. Let us suppose a soil the most obdurate, a cragg)^ 
protuberance on the coast, where a river disgorges itself into 
the Ocean, presenting a step toward the sea, and a gentle de- 
clivity toward the land : that on the side turned toward the 
sea the billows cover it with foam, it's rocks clothed with 
sea-weed, fucuses, alga-marinas of all colours, and of all 
forms, green, brown, purple, in tufts and garlands, as I have 
seen them on the coasts of Normandy, affixed to the rocks of 
white marl, which the sea detaches from the main shore. Let 
us farther suppose, that on the side of the river we see on the 
yellow sand a scanty verdure, mixed with a little trefoil, and 
here and there a sprig of marine wormAVood. Let us intro- 
duce some willows, not like those which grow in our mea- 
dows, but the native crop of the soil, and similar to those which 
are to be seen on the banks of the Spree, in the vicinity of 
Berlin, with broad bushy tops, and rising to the height of 
more than fifty feet. Let us not forget in this arrangement, 
the harmony of different ages, which it is so agreeable to meet 
in every species of aggregation, but especially in that of ve- 
getables. Let us observe, of those willows so smooth and full 
of moisture, some pushing their young branches into the air, 
and others of an aged form with pendent top and hollow trunk. 
Let us add to these their auxiliary plants, such as the green 
mosses and gilded lichen^ which marble their grey rind, and some 
of the convolvuluses, vulgarly called lady's-smock, which delight 
to scramble along their trunk, and to embellish the branches, 
which have no flowers of their own, with leaves in form of a 
heart, and flowers white as snow, hollowed into the shape of a 
spire. Let us, finalh , introduce the inhabitants natural to the 
willow, and it's accessory plants, their butterflies, their flies, 
their beetles, and other insects, together with the feathered ani- 
mals which make war on them, such as the water-hen, polished 
like the burning steel, which catches them in the air; the wag- 
tail, which pursues them on the land, making the movement 

STUDY I. 61 

from which he derives his name ; and the king's-fisher, who 
hunts for them along the surface of the water; and you will see 
a multitude of agreeable harmonies arising out of one single 
species of tree. 

They are however still imperfect. To the willow let us op- 
pose the alder, which likewise affects the bank of the river, and 
which by it's form resembling that of a long tower, it's broad 
foliage, it's dusky verdure, it's fleshy roots, formed like cords 
running along the banks, and binding together the soil, forms 
a complete contrast with the extended mass, the light foliage, 
the white-streaked verdure, and the trundling roots of the wil- 
low. Add to this the individuals of the alder, of different ages, 
rising like so many verdant obelisks, with their parasite plants, 
such as the maiden-hair spreading into stars of verdure over 
the humid trunk, the long hart's-tongue hanging from the 
bows down to the ground, and the other accessories of in- 
sects and fowls, and even of quadrupeds, which probably con- 
trast as to form, colour, gait and instinct, with those of the wil- 
low ; and we shall have a delicious concert of vegetables and 
animals, composed of two trees only, together with their ac- 

If we illuminate our little plantation with the first rays of 
Aurora, we shall behold at Once shades deep and shades 
transparent diffused over the verdure ; a dusky and a sil- 
vered verdure intersect each other on the azure of the 
Heavens, and their soft reflexes blended together moving along 
the bosom of the waters. Let us farther suppose, what nei- 
ther poetry nor painting can pretend to imitate, the odour of 
the plants, and even the smell of the sea, the rustling of leaves, 
the humming of insects, the matin-song of the birds, the hol- 
low murmuring noise, intermixed with silence, of the billows 
breaking on the shore, and the repetitions of all these sounds, 
rcpcrcussed by the distant echoes, which losing themselves in 
the sea, resemble the voice of the Nereids : Ah ! if Love or 
Philosophy should ever tempt you to such a solitude, you will 
find in it an asylum more delicious than the palaces of kings 
can bestow. 

Would you wish that sensations of a different order should 
be excited ? Would you wish to hear the voice of passion and 
sentiment burst from the bosom of the rock ? Let the tomb of 


a virtuous and unfortunate man start up amidst the weeping 
willows, presenting this inscription to the eye : — Here rests 
J. J. Rousseau. 

Would you wish to strengthen the impression of this picture, 
without however doing violence to Nature as to the subject ? 
Change the time, the place, the monumt nt ; let this isle be 
Lemnos ; the trees of these groves, laurels and wild olives, and 
this tomb the tomb of Philoctetes. Look at the grotto, which 
served as a habitation to that great man when abandoned by the 
Greeks, whose battles he had fought ; his wooden pot, the tatters 
in which he was clothed, the bow and arrows of Hercules, which 
in his hands had subdued so many monsters, and with which he 
at last wounded himself : and you will be impressed with two 
powerful sensations at once, the one ph) sical, which increases in 
proportion as vou approach the works of Nature ; because their 
beauty discloses itself only to the eye which examines it ; the 
other moral, which grows upon you in proportion as you retire 
from the monuments of Virtue, because to do good to men, and 
to be no longer within their reach, is a resemblance to the Deity. 

What would it be then were we to take a glance of the gene- 
ral harmonies of this Globe ? To dwell only on those which are 
best known to us, behold how the Sun constantly encircles with 
his rays one half of the earth, while Night covers the other with 
her shade. How many contrasts and concords result from their 
ever-changing oppositions ? There is not a single point in the 
two Hemispheres in which there does not appear by turns a dawn, 
a twilight, an aurora, a noon, a setting of burnished gold, and a 
night sometimes studded with stars, sometimes clothed in a sa- 
ble mantle. 

The Seasons walk hand in hand under his eye, like the hours 
of the day. Spring, crowned with flowers, precedes his flaming 
car ; Summer suri'ounds it with her golden sheaves ; and Au- 
tumn follows it bearing her cornucopia running over with glossy 
fruit. In vain would Winter and Night, retiring to the Poles 
of the World, attempt to set bounds to his majestic career : In 
vain do they raise out of the bosom of the polar Seas of the 
North and of the South new Continents with their vallies, their 
mountains, and their icy corruscations : the Father of Day, 
with his fiery shafts, overturns the fantastic fabric ; and without 

STUDY r. G^ 

descending from his throne, resumes the empire of the Universe. 
Nothing can screen itself from his prolific heat. 

From the bosom of the Ocean he raises into the Air the ri- 
vers which are afterwards to flow through the Old and New 
Worlds. He gives commandment to the Winds to distribute 
them over islands and continents. These invisible children of 
the Air transport them from place to place under a thousand 
capricious forms. Sometimes they are spread over the face of 
Heaven, like veils of gold and streamers of silk ; sometimes they 
are rolled up in the form of frightful dragons, and roaring lions, 
vomiting out torrents of fire and thunder. They pour them out 
on the mountains in as many different ways, in dews, in rains, 
in hail, in snow, in impetuous torrents. 

However extravagant the mode of performing their services 
may appear, every part of the Earth annually receives from them 
neither more nor less than it*s accustomed portion of water. 
Every river fills his urn, and every Naiad her shell. In their 
progress they impress on the liquid plains of the Sea the variety 
of their characters. Some hardly ruffle the smooth expanse ; 
others swell it into billows of azure ; and others turn it from the 
bottom with a dreadful noise, and dash it foaming over die 
rocky promontory. 

Every place possesses harmonies peculiar to itself, and every 
place presents them in rotation. Run over at pleasure a Meri- 
dian or a Parallel, you will find on it mountains of ice and 
mountains of fire ; plains of every kind of level, and hills of 
every curve ; islands of all forms, and rivers of all currents ; 
some spouting out, as if they issued from the centre ot the 
Earth, others precipitating themselves down in cataracts, as if 
they were descending from the clouds. Nevertheless this 
Globe, agitated with such a variety of convulsive movements, 
and loaded with such a variety of burdens, apparently so irre- 
gular, advances in a steady and unalterable course through the 
immensity of the Heavens. 

Beauties of a different order decorate it's Architecture, and 
render it habitable to sensible beings. A girdle of palm-trees, 
to which are suspended the date and the cocoa, surrounds it be- 
tween the Ijuming Tropics ; and forests of mossy firs begird it 
under the Polar Circles. Other vegetables extend, like rays, 
from South to North, and having reached a certain latitude eX' 


pire. The banana advances from the Line to the southern 
shore of the Mediterranean. The orange crosses that Sea, and 
embellishes with it's golden fruit the southern extremities of 
Europe. The most necessary plants, such as com and the gra- 
mineous tribes, penetrate the farthest, and, strong from their 
weakness, stretch in the shelter of the vallies from the banks of 
the Ganges to the shores of the Frozen Ocean. 

Others more hardy take their departure from the rude cli- 
mates of the North, advance over the summit of Mount Taurus, 
and make their way, under favour of the snows, into the very 
bosom of the Torrid Zone. The fir and the cedar clothe the 
mountains of Arabia, and of the kingdom of Cachemire, and 
view at their feet the scorched plains of Aden and Labor, 
where the date and the sugar-cane are reaped. Other trees, 
equally averse to heat and cold, have their centre in the Tem- 
perate Zones. The vine languishes in Germany and Senegal. 
The apple, the tree of my own countiy, never saw the Sun per- 
pendicularly over it's head ; or describing round it the complete 
circle of the Horizon, to ripen it's beautiful fruit. 

But every soil has it's Flora and it's Pomona. The rocks, 
the morasses, the mire, the sand, have each of them vegetables 
peculiar to itself. The very shallows of the sea are fertile. 
The cocoa-tree thrives only on the strand, and suspends it's 
milky fruit over the billows of the briny deep. Other plants 
are adapted to the winds, to the seasons, to the hours of the dav, 
widi such exact precision, that by means of them Liniiaus con- 
structed botanical almanacks and time-pieces. 

Who is capable of describmg the infinite variety of their figure? 
\VTiat cradles, arches, avenues, pyramids of verdure, loaded with 
fruits, present the most enchanting habitations ! What happy re- 
publics lodge under their tranquil shade ! Wliat delicious ban- 
quets are there prepared ! Nothing of them is lost. The quad- 
rupeds eat the tender foliage, the feathered race the seeds, and 
other animals the roots and the rind. The insects feed on the 
offal. Their infinite legions are armed with eveiy kind of in- 
struments for collecting it. The bees have their thighs furnished 
with spoons, lined with hair, for picking up the fine powder of 
their flowers: the fly is provided with a pump for sucking out the 
sap : the worm has an augre, a wimble, a file, to separate the solid 
parts ; and the ant has pincers fpr carrying off the crumbs. 

STUDY I. 65 

On considering the diversity of form, of manners, of govern- 
ments, of all those animals, and the continual wars which they 
wage, you would suppose them a multitude of foreign and hos- 
tile nations, who are on the point of destroying each other. 
From their constancy in love, the perpetuity of their species, 
their wonderful harmony with all the parts of the vf^getable 
kingdom, you would receive the idea of a single people, which 
had it's hereditary nobility, its carpenter's, it's pump-makers, 
and other artisans. 

Other tribes hold vegetables in contenfipt, and are adapted to 
the Elements, to Day, to Night, to Tempests, and to different 
parts of the Globe. The eagle trusts her nest to the rock 
which loses itself in the clouds ; the ostrich, to the parched 
sands of the desert ; the rose-coloured flamingo, to the mires of 
the Southern Ocean. The white bird of the Tropic and the black 
frigat take pleasure to sweep along in company over the vast 
extent of the Seas, to view from the highest regions of the At- 
mosphere the fleets of India toiling after them in vain, and to 
circumscribe the Globe from East to West, disputing rapidity 
of flight with the Sun himself. 

In the same latitudes, the turtle dove and the paroquet, less 
daring, travel only from isle to isle, having their young ones 
in their train, and picking up in the forests the grains of spicery 
which they brush off" as they hop from branch to branch. While 
fowls of this description preserve an equal temperature under 
the same Parallels, others find it in die track of the same Meri- 
dian. Long triangles of wild-geese and of swans go and come 
every year from South to North, stop only at the hoary limits 
of Winter, hurry, without desire and astonishment, over the 
populous cities of Europe, and look down with disdain on their 
fertile plains, which present the furrows of green com in the 
midst of snow : to such a degree does liberty appear preferable 
to abundance, even in the eyes of the animal creation ! 

On the other hand, legions of heavy quails cross the Sea, and 
go to the South in quest of the Summer's heat. Toward the 
end of September they avail themselves of a northerly wind to 
take their departure from Europe, and flapping one wing, while 
they present the other to the gale, half sail, half oar, they graze 
the billows of the Mediterranean with their fattened rump, and" 

Vol. I. I 


bury themselves in the sands of Africa, tliat they may serve as. 
food to the famished inhabitants of Zara. 

There are animals which travel only by night. Millions of 
crabs in the Antilles, descend from the mountains by the light 
of tlie moon, clashing their claws : and present to the Caraibs 
on the steril strand of their isles, innumerable shells replenished 
with exquisite marroAV. At other seasons, on the contrary, the 
tortoise quits the Sea and lands on the same shores, to accumu- 
late layers of eggs in their barren sands. 

The very ices of the Pole are inhabited. We find in their 
Seas, and imder their floating promontories of crystal, the black 
enormous whale, with more oil on his back than a whole plan- 
tation of olives could produce. Foxes clothed in precious furs, 
iind the means of living on shores abandoned by the Sun ; herds 
of rein-deer there scratch up the snow in search of moss, and 
advance, braying, into those desolate regions of night, by the 
glimmering light of the Aurora Boreolis. Through a Providence^ 
worthy of the highest admiration,, places the most prolific, pre- 
sent to Man in the greatest abundance provisions, clothing, 
lamps, and firing, not of his own production. 

How delightful would it be to behold the Human race col- 
lecting all these various blessings, and communicating them to 
each other in peace from. Cliiimte to Climate ! We look with 
expectation, every W^inter, to the period when the swallow and 
the nightingiile shall announce to us the return of serenity. How 
much more affecting would it be to behold the People of distant 
Lands arrive with the Spring on our shores, not with the dread- 
ful noise of artillery, like modern Europeans, but with the sound 
of the flute and of the hautboy, as the ancient Navigators in the 
earlier ages of the World ! We should behold the tawny Indian 
of Southern Asia forcing his way as formerly up it's mighty 
rivers in his leathern canoe ; penetrating through the current of 
the Petzora to the extremities of the North, and displaying on 
the frozen shores of the Icy Sea the riches of the Ganges. We 
should see the copper-coloured Indian of America in his hol- 
lowed log traversing the extended chain of the Antilles, convey- 
ing from isle to isle, from shore to shore, perhaps to our very 
Continent, his gold and emeralds. Numerous cai-avans of Arabs, 
mounted on camels and oxen, would arrive, following the course 

STUDY I. «7 

of the Sun, from pasture to pasture, recalling the memory of the 
mnocent and happy life of the ancient Patriarchs. 

Winter itself would be no interruption to the communication 
of mankind. The Laplander, covered with warm fur, would ar- 
rive under favour of the snov/ in his sledge drawn by the rein- 
deer, and expose for sale in our markets the sable skins of 
Siberia. Did men live in peace, ever}' Sea would be navigated, 
every region would be explored, all their productions would be 
collected. What a gratification of curiosity would it be to listen 
to the adventures of these foreign travellers, attracted to us by 
the gentleness of our manners ! They would not be slow in com- 
mvmicating to our hospitality the secrets of their plants, of their 
industry, and of their traditions, which they will for ever conceal 
from our ambitious commerce. 

It is among the members of the vast family of Mankind that 
the fragments of their History are scattered. How interesting 
would it be to learn that of our ancient separation, the motives 
which determined each tribe to choose a separate habitation, on 
an unknown Globe ; and to traverse, as Chance directed, moun- 
tains which presented no path, and rivers which had not yet re- 
ceived a name .' 

What pictures would be presented to us in the descriptions of 
those countries, decorated with a pompous magnificence, as they 
proceeded from the hands of Nature, but wild and unadapted 
to the necessities of Man destitute of experience ! They would 
paint to us the astonishment of their forefathers at sight of the 
new plants which every new Climate exhibited to their view, 
and the trials which they made of them, as the means of sub- 
sistence ; how they were aided no doubt in their necessitous 
circumstances, and in their industry, by some celestial Intelli- 
gence who commiserated their distress ; how they gradually 
formed an establishment ; what was the origin of their laws, of 
their customs, and of their religions. 

What acts of virtue, what instances of genei-ous love have en- 
nobled the deserts, and are unknown to our pride .' We flatter 
ourselves, that we have got a clear insight into the History of 
foreign Nations, because we have collected a few anecdotes, 
picked up at random by travellers. But this is much the same, 
as if they were to compose ours from the tales of a mariner, or the 
artificial representations of a courtier, amidst the jealousies of 


war, or the corruptions of commerce. The knowledge and tlie 
sentiments of a Nation, are not deposited in books. They 
repose in the heads, and in the hearts, of its sages ; if there be 
on Earth such a thing as a secure asylum for Truth. We have 
already employed ourselves sufficiently in passing judgment on 
them ; it would be of more importance for us to submit to be 
judged by them in our turn, and to profit by their expressions 
of astonishment, at the sight of our Customs, of our Sciences, 
and of our Arts. 

If it be delightful to acquire knowledge, it is much more de- 
lightful to diffuse it. The noblest reward of Science is the 
pleasure of the ignorant man instructed. What a sublime satis- 
faction should it be to us, to enjoy their joy, to behold their 
dances in our public squares, and to hear the drums of the 
Tartar and the ivory comet of the negro re-echo round the 
statues of our Khigs ! Ah, if we were good, I figure them to 
myself struck with astonishment and sorrow, at the excessive 
and unhappy populousness of our cities, inviting us to spread 
ourselves over their solitudes, to contract marriages with them, 
and by new alliances to re-unite the branches of the Human 
Race, which are unhappily separating farther and farther, and 
which national prejudices disunite still more than Ages and 
Climates ! 

Alas ! blessings have been given us in common, and we com- 
municate to each other only the ills of life. Man is eveiy where 
complaining of the want of land, and the Globe is covered with 
deserts. Man alone is exposed to famine, while the animal 
creation, down to insects, are wallowing in plenty. Almost 
every where he is the slave of his equal, while the feeblest of 
animals maintain their liberty against the sti'ongest. Nature, 
who designed him for love, denied him arms, and he has forged 
them for himself, to combat his fellow. She presents to all her 
children asylums and festivals ; and the avenues of our cities 
announce the approach to them only by the sad spectacle of 
wheels and gibbets. The History of Nature exhibits blessings 
only, that of Man nothing but robbery and madness. His he- 
roes are the persons who have rendered themselves the most 
tremendous. Every where he despises the hand which spins 
the garment that clothes him, and which cultivates for him the 
fertile bosom of the Earth. Every where he esteems his de- 

STUDY I. e% 

ceiver, and reveres his oppressor. Always dissatisfied with the 
present, he alone of beings regrets the past, and trembles at the 
thought of futurity. Nature has granted to him alone the 
knowledge of a Deity, and swarms of inhuman religions have 
sprung up out of a sentiment so simple and so consolatorj^ 
What then is the power which has opposed barriers to that of 
Nature ? What illusion has misled that marvellous reason, which 
has inven*;ed so many arts, except the art of being happy ? O 
ye Legislators! boast no longer of your laws. Either Man is 
bom to be miserable ; or the Earth every where watered with his 
blood, and with his tears, accuses you all of having misunder- 
stood those of Nature. 

He who adapts not himself to his Country, his Country to 
Mankind, and Mankind to GOD, is no more acquainted with 
the laws of Politics, than he who, forming a system of Physics 
for himself alone, and separating his personal relations from all 
connection with the Elements, the Earth, and the Sun, is ac- 
quainted with the Laws of Nature. To the investigation of 
these divine harmonies I have devoted my life and this Work. 
If, like so many others, I have gone astray, at least my errors 
shall not be fatal to my religion. It alone appears to me the 
natural bond of Mankind, the hope of our sublime passions, and 
the complement of our miserable destiny. Happy if I have 
been able sometimes to prop with my feeble support that sacred 
edifice, assailed as it is in these times on every side ! But its 
foundations rest not on the Earth, and to Heaven its stately 
columns rear their heads. However bold some of my specula- 
tions may be, they have nothing to do with bad people. But 
perhaps more than one Epicurean may discern in them that 
Man's supreme pleasure is in Virtue. Good citizens will per- 
haps find in them new means of being useful. At least I shall 
have the full recompense of my labour, if so much as one un- 
fortunate >vretch, ready to sink at the melancholy spectacle 
which the World presents, shall revive, on beholding in Nature, 
a Father, a Friend, a Rewarder. 

Such was the vast plan I proposed to execute. I had col- 
lected in this view more materials than I had occasion for. But a 
variety of obstacles has prevented my making a complete ar- 
rangement of them. I shall perhaps resume this employment 
in happier times. I have meanwhile selected as much as was 


sufficient to convey an idea of the harmnnirs of Nature. Though 
my labours are here reduced to simple Studies merely, I have 
however been careful to preserve so much order as was neces- 
sary to unveil my original design. Thus, a peristyle, an arcade 
half in ruins, a^^cnues of columns, simple fragments of walls, 
present still to travellers, in an island of Greece, the image of 
an ancient temple, notwithstanding the ravages of time, and of 
the barbarians who demolished it. 

In setting out, I change scarcely any thing of the First Part 
of my Work, the arrangement excepted. I there display, in 
the first place, the benefits conferred by Nature on our World, 
and on the age in which we live ; and the objections which have 
been raised to the providence of their Author. I next reply 
successively to those which are started from the disorder of the 
Elements, of Vegetables, of Animals, of Man ; and to those 
which are levelled against the nature of GOD himself. I am 
bold to affirm, that I have treated these subjects without any 
personal or extraneous consideration whatever. Having replied 
to those objections, I propose some in my turn to the elements 
of human Science, which we deem infallible ; and I combat that 
pretended principle of our knowledge, which we call Reason. 

After having cleared the ground of our opinions in my first 
Studies, I proceed in those that follow to rear the fabric of hu- 
man Knowledge. I examine what may be the portion of our 
intelligence, at which the light of Nature fixes its boundary ; 
and what we understand by the terms Beauty, Order, Virtue, 
and their contraries. I deduce the evidence of it from several 
laws physical and moral, the sentiment of which is universal 
among all Nations of the Globe. I afterwards make applica- 
tion of the physical laws, not to the order of the Earth, but to 
that of Plants. 

I balanced long, I acknowledge, between these two orders. 
The first would have exhibited, I confidently affirm, relations 
entirely new, viseful to Navigation, to Commerce, and to Geo- 
graphy. But the second has presented me with relations 
equally new, equally agreeable, more easily demonstrable to the 
generalit}- of Readers, of high importance to Agriculture, and 
consequently to the most numerous description of Mankind. 
Besides, some of the harmonic relations of this Globe are to be 
found displayed in my replies to the objections against Provi- 

STUDY I. 71 

dente, and in the elementary relations of Plants, in a manner 
sufficiently luminous to demonstrate the existence of this new 
order. The vegetable order has moreover furnished me with 
occasion to speak of the relations of the Globe, which extend 
dirccriy to animals and to men; and likewise to suggest some 
hints respecting the earliest voyages of the Human Race to the 
principal Quarters of the World. 

I apply, in the following Stiidy^ the laws of Nature to Man. 
I establish the proofs of the immortality of the soul, and of the 
existence of the Deity, not on the principles of our reason, 
which so frequently misleads us, but on an intimate feeling, 
which never deceives nor betrays. I refer to those physical and 
moral laws, the origin of our predominant passions. Love and 
Ambition, and even the causes which interrupt the enjoyment 
of theim, and which render our joys so transient, and our melan- 
choly so profound. I flatter myself with the belief that these 
proofs will interest the Reader, both by their novelty and by 
their simplicity. 

I proceed afterwards, from these notions, to propose the pal- 
liatives and the remedies adapted to the ills of Civil Society, 
the representation of which is delineated in the Second Volume. 
It was not my wish to imitate the example of most Moralists, 
who satisfy themselves with lashing Vice, or with turning it into 
ridicule, without either assigning the principal causes, or indi- 
cating the remedies : much less shall I act the part of our mo- 
dern Politicians, who foment Vice, in order to make a gain of 
it. I am vain enough to hope that this last Study^ which has 
been a most agreeable one to myself, will exhibit some views 
which may be rendered highly beneficial to my Country. 

The rich and the great imagine that every one is miserable, 
and out of the World, who does not live as they do ; but they 
are the persons who, living far from Nature, live out of the 
World. They would find thee, O eternal Beauty! always an- 
cient, and always new ;* O life, pure and blissful, of all those 
who truly live, if they sought thee only within themselves! 
Wert thou a steril mass of gold, or a victorious Prince, who 
shall not be alive to-morrow, or some attractive and deceitful 
female, they would perceive thee, and ascribe to thee the power 

• St. Augustine's Citij of God. 


of conferring some pleasure upon them. Thy vain nature would 
employ their vanity. Thou wouldst be an object proportioned 
to their timid and grovelling thoughts. But because thou art 
so much within themselves, where they never choose to look, 
and too magnificent externally, diflfusing thyself through infinite 
space, thou remainest to them an unknown GOD.* In losing 
themselves, they have lost thee. 

The order, nay, the beauty with Avhich thou hast invested all 
thy creatures, to serve as so many steps by which Man may 
raise himself to thee, are transformed into a veil, which conceals 
thee from his sickly eyes. Men have no sight but for vain 
shadows. The light dazzles them. Mere nothings are to them 
every thing ; and all-perfection passes with them for nothing. 
Nevertheless, he who never saw thee has never seen any thing ; 
he who has no relish for thee is an utter stranger to true plea- 
sure ; he is as if he were not, and his whole life is only a miser- 
able dream. 

I myself, O my God, misled by the prejudices of a faulty 
education, pursued a vain felicity in systems of Science, in arms, 
in the favour of the Great, sometimes in frivolous and danger- 
ous pleasures. In all these agitations I was hunting after ca- 
lamity, while happiness was within my reach. At a distance from 
native Land, I sighed for joys which it contained not for me ; 
and nevertheless thou wert bestowing on me blessings innume- 
rable, scattered by thy bountiful hand over the whole Earth, 
which is the Country of Mankind. I disqukted myself to 
think that I had no powerful protector, that I belonged to no 
corps ; and by Thee I have been protected amidst a thousand 
dangers, in which they could have afforded me no assistance. 
It grieved me to think of living solitary, unnoticed, unregarded ; 
and Thou hast vouchsafed to teach me, that Solitude is far pre- 
ferable to the bustle of a Court, and Liberty to Grandeur. It 
filled me with many a painful reflection, that I had not the fe- 
licity to be directed to some fair spouse, to be the companion 
of my life, and the object of my affection; and thy wisdom in- 
vited me to walk to her habitation, and discovered to me in 
each of her productions an immortal Venus. 

* Fenelon, on the existence of Gov 

STUDY I. 73 

I never ceased to be happy, but when I ceased to trust in Thee. 
O my God ! give to these labours of a man, I do not say the 
duration or the spirit of hfe, but the freshness of the least of thy 
Works ! Let their divine graces be transfused into my writings, 
and bring back a corrupted Age to Thee, as by them I myself 
have been brought back ! Opposed to Thee, all power is weak- 
ness ; supported by Thee, weakness becomes irresistible strength. 
When the rude northern blasts have ravaged the Earth, thou 
callest for the feeblest of winds ; at the sound of thy voice the 
zephyr breathes, the verdure revives, the gentle primrose and 
the humble violet cover the bosom of the bleak rock with a 
mantle of gold and purple. 

Vol. I. 

STUDY 11. 


MOSl' men, in policed Nations, look on Nature with indif- 
ference. They are in the midst of her Works, and they admire 
only human grandeur. What charm after all can render the 
History of Man so interesting? It has to boast of vain objects 
of glory alone, of uncertain opinions, of bloody victories, or at 
most of useless labours. If Nature sometimes finds a place in 
it, M e are called upon to observe only the ravages which she has 
committed, and to hear her charged with a thousand calamities, 
Avhich may be all traced up to our own imprudence. 

With what unremitting attention, on the contrary, is this 
common mother providing for us the means of happiness ! She 
has diffused her benefits over the Globe from Pole to Pole, en- 
tirely in the view of engaging us to unite in a mutual commu- 
nication of them. She is incessantly recalling us from the pre- 
judices which unhappily separate Mankind, to the universal 
laws of Justice and Humanity, by frequently putting our ills in 
the hands of the so highly vaunted conquerors, and our plea- 
sures in those of the oppressed, whom we hardly deign to favour 
with so much as our pity. 

When the Princes of Europe issued forth with the Gospels 
in their hand to ravage Asia, they brought back with them the 
pestilence, the leprosy, and the small-pox ; but Nature pointed 
out to a Dervise the coffee plant, in the mountains of Yemen, 
and produced at one and the same time our plagues from our 
Croisades, and our delicious beverage from the cup of a Ma- 
hometan monk. The successors of these Princes subjugated 
the American Continent, and have transmitted to us, by means 
of this discovery and conquest, an inexhaustible succession of 
wars and venereal diseases. While they were exterminating 
the inoffensive inhabitants of it by their murderous artillery, a 
Caraib, in token of peace, set the sailors a smoking his calumet; 
the perfume of tobacco dissipated their chagrin, and the use of 
it is disseminated.over the whole Earth; and while the mise- 
ries of the two Worlds are issuing from the cannon's mouth, 


which Kings call their ultima ratio, the consolations of the 
civilized States of Europe stream from the pipe of a Savage. 

To whom are we indebted for the use of sugar, of chocolate, 
of so many agreeable means of subsistence, and of so many- 
salutary medicines? To naked Indians, to poor Peasants, to 
wretched Negroes. The spade of slaves has done more good, 
than the sword of conquerors has done mischief. But in which 
of our great squares are we to look for the statutes of our ob- 
scure benefactors ? Our Histories have not vouchsafed so much 
as to preserve their names. We need not, however, to go so far 
in quest of proofs of the obligations under which we lie to Na- 
ture ; is it not to the study of her laws that Paris is indebted 
for such multiplied illumination, collected from every quarter 
of the Globe, combined a thousand different ways, and reflected 
over Europe in Sciences the most ingenious, and enjoyments 
the most refined, of every species ? 

Where is now the time when our forefathers leaped for joy 
at finding a wild plum-tree on the banks of the Loire ; or at 
catching a poor roe in the chace in the vast plains of Normandy? 
Our fields, now so richly clothed with harvests, and orchards, 
and flocks, did not then produce the common necessaries of life. 
They wandered up and down, living on the precarious supplies 
of hunting, and not daring to trust to Nature. Her simplest 
phenomena filled them with terror. They trembled at the sight 
of an eclipse, of an ignis-fatuusj of a branch of mistletoe on the 
oak. Not that they believed the aflfairs of the World to be sur- 
rendered to Chance. They recognized every where Gods pos- 
sessed of intelligence ; but not daring to believe them good, 
while cruel priests were their only instructors in religion, these 
unfortunate people imagined that the Gods took pleasure only 
in tears, and immolated to them human victims, on the very 
spot perhaps on which now stands a receptacle for the wretched.* 

• Some Writers of our own have composed the eulogium of the Druids. 
I sliall oppose to them, among other authorities, that of the Romans, who it 
is well known were abundantly tolerant in matters of relig-ion. Csesar, in his 
Commentaries, informs us that the Druids, in honour of their Gods, biu"nt 
men in baskets of osier ; and that when criminals were wanting for this hor- 
rible purpose, they sacrificed even the innocent. Suetonius, in his life of 
Claudius, gives this account of the matter : " The religion of the Druids, too 
" cruel it must be confessed, aiKl wluch from the time of Augustus had been 


Let me suppose that a Philosopher, such as Newton^ were 
then to have treated them with the spectacle of some of our 
natural Sciences, and to have shewn them with the miscroscope 
forests in moss, mountains in grains of sand, thousands of ani- 
mals in drops of water, and all the wonders of Nature, which in 
a downward progress to nothing multiplies the resources of her 
intelligence, while the human eye becomes incapable of per- 
ceiving the boundary : Let me go on to suppose that afterwards 
discovering to them in the Heavens a progression of greatness 
equally infinite, he had shewn them in the planets, hardly per- 
ceptible to the naked eye, Worlds much greater than ours, Sa- 
turn, three hundred millions of leagues distant ; in the fixed 
stars, infinitely more remote, Suns which probably illuminate 
other Worlds ; in the whiteness of the Milky Way, stars, that 
is Suns, innumerable, scattered about in the Heavens as grains 
of dust on the Earth, without Man's knowing whether all this 
may not be more than the threshold of Creation merely ; with 
what transports would they have viewed a spectacle which we 
at this day behold without emotion ? 

But T would rather suppose that, unprovided with the magic 
of Science, a manlike Fenelon had presented himself to them in 
all the majesty of Virtue, aiui thus addressed the Druids : " You 
" frighten yourselves, my friendc, ivith the groundless terrors 
" which you instil into the people. God is righteous. He con- 
" veys to the wicked terrible apprehensions, which recoil on 
" those who communicate them. But he speaks to all men in 

" simply forbidden, was by him entirely abolished." Herodotus had long 
before loaded them with the same reproach. 

All that can be opposed to the testimony of three Roman Emperors, and 
to that of the Father of History, is the silly evidence of the Romance of As- 
trsea. Have we not faults enough justly chargeable on ourselves, without 
undertaking the difficidt task of justifying those of our ancestors ? They 
were not indeed, it must be allowed, more culpable than other Nations, who 
all presented human sacrifices to the Divinity. Plutarch reproaches the 
Romans themselves with having immolated, in the earlier times of the Re- 
public, two Gauls and two Greeks whom they buried alive. 

Is it possible then that the first sentiment of Man in a state of nature could 
have been that of terror ; and that he must have believed in the Devil before 
he believed in God ? O ! no. It is Man who universally has misled Man. 
One of the gj-eat benefits for which we are indebted to the Christian Reli- 
gion, has been the destruction, in a considerable part of the World, of these 
inhuman doctrines and sacrifices. 


" the blessings which he bestows. Your religion would govern 
*' men by fear ; mine draws them with cords of love, and imitates 
" his Sun in the firmament, whom He causes to shine on the 
" evil and on the good." Let me finally suppose, that after this 
he had distributed among them the simple presents of Nature, 
till then unknown, sheaves of com, slips of the vine, sheep 
clothed with the woolly fleece. Oh ! what would have been the 
gratitude of our grandfathers ! They would perhaps have fled 
with terror from the Inventor of the telescope, mistaking him 
for a Spirit ; but undoubtedly they would have fallen doAvn and 
worshipped the Author of Telemachus. 

These, after all, are only the smallest part of the blessings 
for which their opulent descendants stand indebted to Nature. 
I say nothing of that infinite number of arts which are employ- 
ed at home to diff^use knowledge and delight ; nor of that ter- 
rible invention of artillery which secures to them the enjoyment 
of these, while the noise of it disturbs their repose at Paris only 
to announce victories ; nor of that new and still more wonderful 
art of electricity, which screens* their hotels from the thunder j 

* On the subject of the effects of Electricity, a thought abundantly impi- 
ous has been expressed in a Latin verse, the impoi-t of which is, that Man 
\\^% disarmed the \i^\TY. Thunder is by no means a particular instrument 
of Divine Justice. It is necessary to the purification of the air in the heats 
of Summer. God has permitted to Man the occasional disposal of it, as He 
has given him the power of using Fire, of crossing tlic Ocean, and of con- 
verting every tiling in Nature to his advantage. It is the ancient Mythology, 
which, representing Jupiter always wielding the thunder, has inspired us 
with so much terror. We find in the Holy Scriptures ideas of the Divinity 
much more consolatory, and a much sounder Philosophy. I may perhaps 
be mistaken, but I do not believe there is a single passage in the Bible in 
w hich thunder is mentioned as an instrument of divine Justice. Sodom was 
desU'oyed by showers of fire and brimstone. The ten plagues with which 
Egypt was smitten, were the corruption of the waters, swarms of reptiles, 
lice, flies, the pestilence, ulcers, liail, caterpillars, thick darkness, and the 
death of the first-born. Corah, Datlian, and Abiram, were consumed by fire 
issuing out of the Earth. When tlie Israelites murmured in the wilderness 
of Parna, the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were 
in the uttermost parts of the camp, Numb. xi. 1. In the threatenings denoun- 
ced against tlie people in Leviticus, no mention is made of thunder. On the. 
contrary, it was amidst the noise of tliunder that GOD promulgated his law 
to his chosen people from Mount Sinai. Finally, in that sublime piece of poe- 
try, wherein David summoned all the works of JEHOVAH, to praise him, he 
calls among the rest, upon the thunder ; and it is not foreign to our purpose 


nor of the privilege which they have in this venal age of pre- 
siding in all States over the happiness of men, when they be- 
lieve they have nothing more to fear from the powers of Earth 
and Heaven. 

But the whole world is engaged in the pursuit of pleasure 
only. England, Spain, Italy, the Archipelago, Hungary, all 
Southern Europe, is adding every year wools to their wools, 
wines to their wines, silks to their silks. Asia sends them dia- 
monds, spices, muslins, chintzes, and porcelain ; America, the 
gold and silver of her mountians, the emeralds of her rivers, the 
dye-stuffs of her forests, the cochineal, the sugar-cane, and the 
cocoa-nut of her fervid plains, which their hands did not culti- 
vate; Africa, her ivory, her gold, her very children, which 
serve them as beasts of burden all over the Globe. 

There is not a spot of the Earth, or of the Sea, but what fur- 
nishes them with some article of enjoyment. The gulfs of the 
Ocean provide them pearls, its shallows ambergris, and its icy 
promontories furs. At home they have reduced the rivers and 
mountains to a state of vassalage, in order to reserve to them- 
selves feudal rights to fisheries and chaces. But there was no 
occasion to put themselves to so much expense. The sands of 
Africa, where they have no game-keeper, send them in clouds 
quails and other birds of passage, which cross the Sea in Spring, 
to load their table in Autumn. The Northern Pole, where 
they have no cruiser, pours on their shores every Summer le- 
gions of mackarel, of fresh cod, and of turbots, fattened in the 
long nights of Winter. 

Not only the fowls and the fishes change for them their cli- 
mate but the very trees themselves. Their orchards formerly 
were transplanted from Asia, and now their parks from Ame- 
rica. Instead of the chesnut and walnvit, which surrounded the 
farms of their vassals in the rustic domains of their ancestors, 
the ebony, the sorb-apple of Canada, the great chesnut of In^lia, 
the magnolia, the tulip-bearing laurel, encircle their country 
palaces with the umbrage of the New World, and ere long of 
its solitudes. They have summoned the jasmin from Arabia, 
the orange from China, the pine -apple from Brasil, and a multi- 

to remark, that he includes in his summons all the meteors which enter into 
the necessary harmony of the Universe. He qualifies them with the majestic 
title of the An^^els, and Hosts of the Most High. See Fsulm cxlviii. 


tude of sweet-scented plants from every region of the torrid 
Zone. They have no longer occasion for suns : they can dis- 
pose of latitudes. They can convey in their hot-houses the 
heats of Syria to exotic plants, at the very season when their 
hinds are perishing with the cold of the Alps in their hovels. 

No one of the productions of Nature can escape their avidity. 
What they cannot have while living, they contrive to have when 
dead. The insects, birds, shell-fish, minerals, nay the very 
soil of the most distant lands enrich their cabinets. Painting 
and engraving present them with the prospect, and procure them 
the enjoyment of the Glaciers of Switzerland, during the burn- 
ing heat of the Dog-days ; and of the Spring of the Canaries, in 
the midst of Winter. The intrepid Navigator brings them from 
regions into which the Arts dai-e not to penetrate, journals of 
voyages still more interesting than the productions of the pen- 
cil ; and redouble the silence, the tranquillity, the security of 
their nights, sometimes by a recital of the horrible tempests of 
Cape-Horn, sometimes by that of the dances of the happy Isl- 
anders of the South-Seas. 

Not only every- thing that actually e-itlets, but Ages past, all 
contribute to their felicity. Not for the Temple of Venus only 
did Corinth invent those beautifid columns rising like palm- 
trees ; no, but to support the alcove of their beds. Their vo- 
luptuous Art veils the light of the day through taffetas of every 
colour; and imitating by softened reflexes, either of moon-light 
or of sun-rising, represents the objects of their loves like so many 
Dianas or Auroras. The art of Phidias has for them produced 
a contrast to female beauty, in the venerable busts of a Socrates 
and a Plato. 

Obscure scholars, by efforts of labour which nothing can re- 
munerate, have for them procured the knowledge of the sublime 
geniuses who were ornaments of the World in times nearer to 
the Creation ; Orpheus, Zoroaster, Esop, Lokman, David, So- 
lomon, Confucius, and a multitude of others, unknown even to 
Antiquity. It was not for the Greeks, it is for them, that 
Homer still sings of Heroes and of Gods, and that Virgil war- 
bles the notes of the Latin flute, which ravished the ears of the 
Couit of Augustus, and there rekindled the love of Country and 
of Nature. For them it is that Horace, Pope, Addison, La 
Fontaine, Gesner, have smoothed the i;ough paths of Wisdom., 


and have rendered them more accessible, and more lovely, than 
the treacherous steeps of Folly. 

A multitude of Poets and Historians of all Nations, a Sopho- 
cles, an Euripides, a Comeille, a Racine, a Shakespear, a Tasso, 
a Xenophon, a Tacitus, a Plutarch, a Suetonius, introduce them 
into the very closets of those terrible Potentates, who bruised 
with a rod of iron the head of the Nations whose happiness was 
intrusted to their care, and call them to rejoice in their happy 
destiny, and to hope for a better still, under the reign of another 
Antoninus. Those vast geniuses, of all Ages and of all Coun- 
tries, celebrating without concert the undecaying lustre of Vir- 
tue and the Providence of Heaven in the punishment of Vice, 
add the authority of their sublime reason to the universal in- 
stinct of Mankind, and multiply a thousand and a thousand times 
in their favour the hopes of another life, of much longer dura- 
tion, and of more exalted felicity. 

Does it not seem reasonable that a chorus of praise should 
ascend day and night from the dome of every hotel to the Au- 
thor of Natui-e ? Never did ancient King of Asia accumulate 
so many means of enjoyment in Susa or in Echatana, as our 
common tradesmen do in Paris. These Monarchs, neverthe- 
less, every day paid adoration to the Gods ; they would engage 
in no enterprize till the Gods were consulted; they would not 
so much as sit down to table until the libation of religious ac- 
knowledgment was poured out. Would to GOD that our Epi- 
cureans were chargeable with indifference only to the hand which 
is continually loading them with benefits ! But it is from the 
very lap of plenteousness and pleasure that the voice of mur- 
muring against Providence now arises.' From their Libraries, 
stored with so many sources of knowledge, issue forth the black 
clouds which have obscured the hopes and the virtues of Europe. 



" THERE is no God," say these self-constituted sages. 
" From the work form your judgment of the workman.* Ob- 
*' serve first of all this Globe of ours, so destitute of propor- 
*' tion and symmetry. Here it is deluged by vastseas ; there it 
*' is parched with thirst, and presents only wildernesses of bar- 
" ren sand. A centrifugal force, occasioned by it's diurnal ro- 
" tation, has heaved out it's Equator into enormous mountains, 
" while it flattened the Poles : for the Globe was originally in 
*' a state of softness ; whether it was a mud recovered from 
*' the empire of the waters, or what is more probable, a scum 
*' detached from the Sun. The volcanos which are scattered 
" over the whole Earth, demonstrate, that the fire which form- 
*' ed it is still under our feet. Over this scoria, so wretchedly 
** levelled, the rivers run as chance directs. Some of them 
*' inundate the plains ; others are swallowed up, or precipitate 
*' themselves in cataracts, and no one of them presents anything 
*' like a regular current. The Islands are merely fragments of 
" the Continent, violently separated from it by the Ocean ; 
*' and what is the Continent itself, but a mass of hardened 
*' clay ? Here the unbridled Deep devours it's shores ; there 
*' it deserts them, and exhibits new mountains which had been 
*' formed in it's womb. Amidst this conflict of contending 
*' elements, this baked lump grows harder and harder, colder 
*' and colder, every day. The ice of the Poles and of the lofty 
*' mountains advance into the plains, and insensibly extend the 
*' uniformity of an eternal Winter over this mass of confusion, 
♦' ravaged by the Winds, the Fire, and the Water. 

" In the vegetable World the disorder increases upon us.f 
■*' Plants are a fortuitous production, of humid and drj', of 
" hot and cold, the mould of the Earth merely. The heat of 
" the Sun makes them spring up, the cold of the Poles kills 

• See replies to this objection in Study IV. 
f The reply is in Study V. 

Vol. I. L 


" them. Their sap obeys the same mechanical laws with the 
" liquid in the thermometer, and in capillary tubes. Dilated 
" by heat, it ascends through the wood, and re-descends through 
" the rind, following in it's direction the vertical column of the 
" air which impresses that direction. Hence it is that all vege- 
" tables rise perpendicularly, and that the inclined plain of a 
" mountain can contain no more than the horizontal plane of it's 
" base, as may be demonstrated by Geometry. Besides, the 
" Earth is an ill-assorted garden, which presents almost every 
" where useless weeds, or mortal poisons. 

" As to the animals which we know better, because they are 
" brought nearer to us by similar affections and similar wants, 
" they present still greater absurdities.* They proceeded at 
" first from the expansive force of the Earth in the first Ages 
" of the World, and were formed out of the fermented mire 
" of the Ocean and of the Nile, as certain Historians assure 
" us ; among others Herodotus, who had his information from 
" the Priests of Egypt. Most of them are out of all propor- 
" tion. Some have enormous heads and bills, such as the 
" toucan ; others long necks and long legs, like the crane : 
" these have no feet at all, those have them by hundreds ; 
" others have theirs disfigured by superfluous excrescences, 
" such as the meaningless spurs of the hog, which appended 
" at the distance of some inche s from his feet, can be no ser- 
" vice to him in walking. 

" There are animals scarcely capable of motion, and which 
" come into the World in a paralytic state, such as the sloth or 
" sluggard, who cannot make out fifty paces a day, and screams 
" out lamentably as he goes. 

" Our cabinets of Natural History are filled with monsters ; 
*' bodies with two heads ; heads with three eyes, sheep with 
" six feet, &c. which demonstrate that Nature acts at random, 
" and proposes to herself no determinate end, unless it be 
" that of combining all possible forms : and after all this plan 
" would denote an intention which it's monotony disavows. 
*' Our Painters will always imagine many more beings than 
" can possibly be created. Add to all this, the rage and fury 
" which desolate every thmg that breathes ; the hawk devours 
*' the harmless dove in the face of Heaven. 

* The reply to this is in Study VI, 


" But the d'lscoM which rages among animals is nothing, 
" compared to that which consumes the human race.^ First, 
" several different species of men, scattered over the Earth, 
" demonstrate that they do not all proceed from the same 
*' original. There are some black, others white, red, copper- 
" coloured, lead-coloured. There are some who have wool 
" instead of hair ; others who have no beard. There are dwarfs 
" and giants .Such are in part the varieties of the human spe- 
*' cies, every where equally odious to Nature. No where 
" does she nourish him, with perfect good-will. He is the 
" only sensible being laid under the necessity of cultivating 
" the earth in order to subsist ; and as if this unnatural mo- 
" ther were determined to persecute with unrelenting severity, 
" the child whom she has brought forth, insects devour the 
" seed as he sows it, hurricanes sweep away his harvests, fe- 
" rocious animals prey on his cattle, volcanos and earthquakes 
" destroy his cities; and the pestilence which from time to 
" time makes the circuit of the Globe, threatens at length his 
" utter extermination. 

" He is indebted to his own hands for his intelligence, his 
" morality is the creature of climate, his governments are 
*' founded in force, and his religion in fear. Cold gives him 
" energy ; heat relaxes him. Warlike and free in the North, 
" he is a coward and a slave between the Tropics. His only 
" natural laws are his passions. And what other laws should 
" we look for ? If they sometimes lead him astray, is not 
" Nature, who bestowed them upon him, an accomplice at least 
" in his criminaUty? But he is made sensible of their im- 
" pulse, only as a warning never to gratify them. 

" The difficulty of finding subsistence, wars, imports, pre- 
" judices, calumnies, implacable enemies, perfidious friends, 
" treacherous females, four hundred sorts of bodily distemper, 
" those of the mind, both more cruel and more numerous, ren- 
" der him the most wretched of creatures that ever saw the 
" light. It were much better that he had never been born. 
" He is every where the victim of some tjTant. Other ani- 
" mals are furnished with the means of fighting, or at least of 
" flying ; but Man has been tossed on the Earth by chance, 

• The reply is in Study VII. 


■* without an asylum, without claws, without fangs, without 
" velocity, without instinct, and almost without a skin ; and as 
" if it were not enough to be persecuted by all nature, he is in 
" a state of perpetual war with his own species. In vain 
" would he try to defend himself from it. Virtue steps in and 
" binds his hands, that Vice in safety may cut his throat. He 
" has no choice but to suffer, and to be silent. 

" What after all is this virtue, about which such parade is 
" made ? A combination of his imbecility ; a result of his 
" temperament. With what illusions is he fed ? Absurd opi- 
" nions, founded merely on the sophisms of designing men, 
" who have acquired a supreme power by recommending hu- 
" mility, and immense riches by preaching up poverty. Eve- 
" ry thing expires with us. From experience of the past, let 
*' us form a judgment of the future -, we were nothing before 
" our birth ; we shall be nothing after death. The hope of 
" our virtues is a mere human invention, and the instinct of 
" our passions is of divine institution. 

" But there is no GOD.* If there were. He would be un- 
" just. What being of unlimited power and goodness wonld 
*' have exposed to so many ills the existence of his creatures; 
" and laid it down as a law, that the life of some could be sup- 
" ported only by the death of others ? So much disorder is a 
" proof that there is no GOD. It is fear that formed him. 
" How must the World have been astonished at such a meta- 
*' physical idea, when Man first, under the influence of terror, 
" thought proper to cry out that there was a GOD ! WTiat 
" could have made him GOD i Why should he be GOD ? 
" What pleasure could he take in that perpetual circle of woes, 
" of regenerations, and of deaths ?"f 

♦ The reply is in Study VIII. 

f The refutation of these objections will be found by the numeral cha- 
racters, which correspond to each particular Study. All of them are there 
resolved directly or indirectly : for it was not possible to follow in a Work 
of this kind, the scholastic order of a system of philosophy. 



SUCH are the principal objections which have been raised 
in almost every Age against a Providence, and which no one 
will accuse me of having stated too feebly. Before I attempt 
a refutation of them, I must be permitted to make a few re- 
flections on the persons who maintain them. 

Did these murmurings proceed from some wretched mari- 
ners, exposed at sea to all the revolutions of the Atmosphere, 
or from some oppressed peasant, labouring under the contempt 
of that society whom his labour is feeding, my astonishment 
wold be less. But our Atheists are for the most part well 
sheltered from the injuries of the Elements, and especially 
those of Fortune. The greatest part of them have never so 
much as travelled. As to the ills of Civil Society, they most 
unreasonably complain ; for they enjoy it's sweetest and most 
respectful homage, after having burst asunder all its bands, 
by the propagation of their opinions. What have they not 
written on Friendship, on Love, on Patriotism, and on ail the 
Human affections, which they have reduced to the level of 
those of beasts, while some of them could render human af- 
fection almost divine by the sublimity of their talents ! 

Are they not in part the very persons to whom many of our 
calamities may be justly imputed, for their flattering in a thou- 
sand different ways the passions of our modem tyrants, whilst 
a cross rising in the midst of a desert comforts the miserable I 
It is a matter of no small difficulty to retain these last, in a ra- 
tional devotion ; and it is a moral phenomenon which appeared 
to me for a long time inexplicable, to behold in every Age 
atheism springing up among men who have most reason to 
cry up the goodness of Nature, and superstition among those 
who have the justest groimd of complaint against her. It is 
amidst the luxury of Greece and Rome, in the bosom of the 
wealth of Indostan, of the pomp of Persia, of the voluptuous- 
ness of China, of the overflowing abundance of European 
Capitals, that men first started up who dared to deny the 


existence of a Deity. On the contrary, the houseless Tartars ; 
the Savages of America, continually pressed with famine ; the 
Negroes, without foresight, and without a police ; the inhabitants 
of the rude climates of the North, such as the Laplanders, the 
Greenlanders, the Esquimaux, see Gods every where, even in 
a flint, in a pebble. 

I long thought that atheism, in the rich and luxurious was a 
dictate of conscience. " I am rich, and I am a knave," must 
be their reasoning, " therefore there is no GOD." " Besides, 
" if there is a GOD, I have an account to render." But these 
reasonings, though natural, are not general. There are atheists, 
who possess legitimate fortunes, and use them morally well, at 
least externally. Besides, for the contrary reason, the poor man 
ought always to argue thus : " I am industrious, honest, and 
" miserable ; therefore there must be no Providence." But in 
Nature herself we must look for the source of this ratiocination. 

In all countries the poor rise early, labour the ground, live in 
the open air, and in the fields. They are penetrated with that ac- 
tive power of Nature which fills the Universe. But their reason 
sinking under the pressure of calamity, and distracted by their 
daily occasions, is unable to support it's lustre. It stops short, 
without generalizing, at the sensible effects of this invisible 
cause. They believe, from a sentiment natural to weak minds, 
that the objects of their religious worship will be at their dispo- 
sal, in proportion as they are within their reach. Hence it is 
that the devotions of the common people in ever\' country are 
presented in the fields, and have natural objects for their centre. 
It always attracts the religion of the peasantry. A hermitage 
on the side of a mountain, a chapel at the source of a stream, 
a good image of the virgin in wood niched in the trunk of an 
oak, or under the foliage of a hawthorn, have to them a much 
more powerful attraction than the gilded altars of our Cathedrals. 
I except those, however, whom the love of money has complete- 
ly debauched, for such persons must have saints of silver, even 
in the country. 

The principal religious acts of the people in Turkey, in Persia, 
in the Indies, and in China, are pilgrimages in the fields. The 
rich, on the contrary, prevented in all their wants and wishes by 
men, no longer look up to GOD for any thing. Their whole life 
is passed within doors, where they see only the productions of 


human Industry, lustres, wax-candles, mirrors, secretaries, para- 
sites, books, wits. They come insensibly to lose sight of Nature ; 
whose productions are besides almost always exhibited to them 
disfigured or out of season, and always as an effect of the art of 
their gardeners or artisans. 

They fail not likewise to interpret her sublime operations, by 
the mechanism of the arts most familiar to them. Hence so many 
systems, which easily enable you to guess at the occupation of 
their authors. Epicurus, exhausted by voluptuousness, framed 
his world and his atoms, with which Providence has nothing to 
do, out of his own apathy ; the Geometrician forms it with his 
compasses ; the Chj-mist compounds it of salts ; the Mineralist 
extracts it from the fire ; and they who apply themselves to no- 
thing, and these are not few in number, suppose it like themselves 
in a state of chaos, and moving at random. 

Thus the corruption of the heart is the original source of our 
errors. Afterwards, the Sciences employing, in the investigation 
of natural things, definitions, principles, methods, invested with a 
great geometrical apparatus, seem by this pretended order to re- 
duce to order what widely deviates from it. But supposing this 
order to exist, such as they present it to us, of what use could 
it be to Man ? Would it be sufficient to restrain and console 
the miserable ; and what interest will they take in that of a so- 
ciety which tramples th^m under foot, when they have nothing 
to hope from that of Nature, who abandons them to the laws 
of motion ? 

I now proceed to answer one after another the objections for- 
merly stated againt Providence, founded on the disorders of the 
globe ; of vegetables, of animals, of Man, and on the nature of 
God himself. 

Replies to the Objections against Providejice^ founded on the Dis- 
orders of the Globe. 

Though my ignorance of the means employed by Nature in 
the government of the Wold is greater than I am able to ex- 
press ; it is sufficient, however, to throw one's eyes on a geogra- 
phical chart, and to have read a litde, to be enabled to demon- 
strate that those by which her operations are pretendedly ex- 


plained to us have no foundation in truth. From human insuf- 
ficiency spring the objections levelled at the divine Providence. 
First, it appears to me no more natural to compose the uni- 
form motion of the Earth through the Heavens, of the two mo- 
tions of projection and attraction, than to attribute to similar 
causes that of a man walking on the Earth. The centrifugal 
and centripetal forces seem to me no more to exist in the Hea- 
vens, than the two circles denominated the Equator and the 
Zodiac. However ingenious these hypotheses may be, they are 
only scaffoldings imagined by men of genius for rearing the fa- 
bric of Science, but which no more assist us in penetrating into 
the Sanctuary of Nature, than those employed in the construc- 
tion of our churches can introduce us into the sanctuary of Re- 
ligion. These combined forces are no more the moving prin- 
ciple of the course of the stars, than the circles of the spheres 
are their barriers. They are signs merely which have at last 
usurped the place of the objects which they were intended only 
to represent, like every thing else of human establishment. 

If a centrifugal force had swelled the mountains of the Globe 
when it was in a state of fusion, there must have been moun- 
tains much more elevated than the Andes of Peru and Chili. 
That of Chimboraco, which is the highest of them, is only 3220 
or 3350 fathoms in height, for the Sciences are not perfectly 
agreed even in matters of obsei-vation. This elevation, which 
is nearly the greatest known on Earth, is less perceptible on it 
than the third part of a line would be on a globe of six feet di- 
ameter. Now, a mass of melted metal presents, in proportion 
to it's size, scorias much more considerable. Look at the an- 
fractuosities of a simple morsel of iron dross. What frightful 
swellings then must have been formed on a globe of heteroge- 
neous and fermenting materials, more than three thousand 
leagues thick? The Moon, whose diameter is much less consi- 
derable, contains, according to Cassini^ mountains three league 
high. But what would be the case if, with the action of the hete- 
rogeneousness of our terrestrial materials all in fusion, we should 
besides suppose that of a centrifugal force produced by the 
Earth's rotatory motion round it's axis? I imagine that this 
force must have been necessarily exerted in the direction of it's 
Equator, and instead of forming it into a globe, must have fiat- 


tened it out in the Heavens, like those large plates of glass 
which glass-blowers expand with their breath. 

Not only the diameter of the Earth at the Equator is no 
greater than under it's Meridians, but the mountains there are 
not more elevated than elsewhere. The noted Andes of Peru 
have not their commencement at the Equator, but several de- 
grees beyond it toward the South ; and coasting along Peru, 
Chili, and Magellan's land, stop at the fifty-fifth degree of Sou- 
thern Latitude, in the Terra del Fuego, where they present to 
the Ocean a promontory of ice of a prodigious height. Through 
the whole extent of this immense track, they never open but at 
the Straits of Magellan, forming throughout, according to the 
testimony of Garcillaso de la Vega^ * a rampart fortified with 
pyramids of ice, inaccessible to men, to quadrupeds, and even 
to birds. 

The mountains on the isthmus of Panama, on the contrary, 
which are nearly under the Line, have an elevation so small in 
comparison with the Andes, that Admiral Anson, who had 
coasted along the whole, relates that on his arriving at these 
heights he experienced stifling heats, because the air, says he, 
was not refreshed by the Atmosphere of the lofty mountains 
of Chili and Peru. 

The highest mountains of Asia are entirely out of the Tro- 
pics. The chain, known by the names of Taurus and Imaus, 
commences in Africa at Mount Atlas, toward the thirtieth de- 
gree of northern latitude. It runs across all Africa and all 
Asia, between the thirty-eighth and fortieth degree of north 
latitude, having it's summit covered for the most part through 
that immense extent with snows that never melt ; a proof, as 
shall afterwards be demonstrated, of a very considerable elevation. 

Mount Ararat, which makes part of this chain, is perhaps 
more elevated than any mountain of the New World, if we form 
ti judgment from the time which Tournefort and other travel- 
lers took to perform the distance from the basis of that moun- 
tain, up to the commencement of the. snow which covers it's 
summit, and which is less arbitrary from the distance at which 
it may be seen, and that is at least six days joumejr of a caravan. 

• History of the Incas. Book I. chap. 8. 
Vol. r. M 


The Peak of TenerifF is visible forty leagues off. The 
mountains of Norway, called Felices, and by some the Alps of 
the North, are visible at sea fifty leagues distant; and, if we 
may believe an ingenious Swedish Geographer, are three thou- 
sand fathoms high. 

The peaks of Spitsberghen, of New-Zealand, of the Alps, of 
the Pyrennees, of Switzerland, and those on which ice is found 
all the year round, are exceedingly elevated ; though most of 
them very remote from the Equator. They do not even run 
in directions parallel to that circle, as must have been the case 
on the supposition of the eifect produced by the rotation of the 
Globe ; for if the chain of Taurus in the ancient Continent runs 
from West to East, that of the Andes in the new runs from. 
North to South. Other chains proceed in other directions. 

But if the pretended centrifugal force once had the power of 
heaving up mountains, why does it possess at this day the power 
of tossing up a straw into the air ? It ought not to leave a single 
detached body on the surface of the Earth. They are affixed 
to it, I shall be told, by the centripetal force or gravity. But if 
this last power in fact forces every body toward it, why have 
not the mountains too submitted to this universal law when they 
w^ere in a state of fusion ? I cannot conceive what reply can be 
made to this twofold objection. 

The Sea appears to me not more adapted to the formation of 
mountains than the centrifugal force is. How is it possible to 
imagine the possibility of it's having thrown them out of it's 
womb ? It is incontrovertible, however, that marbles and calca- 
reous stones, which are only pastes of madrepores and shells 
amalgamated ; that flints, which are concretions of these ; that 
marles, which are a dissolution of them ; and that all marine 
bodies, which are found in every part of both Continents, have 
issued out of the Sea. These matters serve as a basis to great 
part of Europe ; hills of a very considerable height are com- 
posed of them, and they are found in many parts of both the 
Old and New Worlds, at an equal degree of elevation. But 
their strata cannot be explained by any of the actual movements 
of the Ocean. In vain would we ascribe to it revolutions from 
West to East ; never will it have the power of raising any thing 
above it's level. If certain ports of the Mediterranean are 
produped as instances, which the Sea has actually left drv', 

Study iv, 91 

it is no less certain that there is a much greater number on the 
same coasts which the water has not deserted. Hear what is 
said on the subject by that judicious Observer Maundrel^ in his 
journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, in 1669 : " In the Adriatic 
" Gulf, the light-house of Arimninum, or Rimini, is a league 
" from the sea; but Ancona, built by the SjTacusans, is still 
" close to the shore. The arch of Trajan, which rendered it's 
" port more commodious for merchants, is situated immediately 
*' upon it. Beritta, the favourite spot of ugustus, who gave 
" it the name of Julia Felix^ preserves no remains of it's an- 
" cient beauty, except it's situation on the brink of the Sea, 
" above which it is elevated no higher than is necessary to se- 
" cure it against the innndatinns of that element." 

The testimony of travellers the most accurate is conformable 
to that of this ingenious English gentleman. His compatriot, 
Richard Pocock^ who travelled into Egypt in 1737, with less 
taste, but with still greater accuracy, attests that the Mediter- 
ranean has gained fully as much ground as it has lost. * " No- 
" thing more is necessary," says he, " to produce a conviction 
*' of this than to examine the coast ; for you will see under 
" water not only a variety of artificial productions, manufac- 
" tured in the rock, but likewise the ruins of many edifices. 
*' About two miles from Alexandria are to be seen under water 
" the ruins of an ancient temple." 

An anonymous English traveller, in the journal of a voyage 
stored with excellent observations, describes several very an- 
cient cities of the Archipelago, such as Samos, the ruins of 
which are close to the Sea. Hear m hat he says of Delos, which 
is, as every one knows, in the centre of the Cycladcs. \ " AVe 
" found nothing else all along the coast but the remains of su- 
" perb edifices which had never been completed, and the ruins 
*' of others which have been destroyed. The Sea appears to 
" have gained on the Isle of Delos ; and the water being clear, 
" and the weather calm, we had an opportunity of observing 
" the remains of beautiful buildings in places where now the 

• Travels into Eg)-pt. Vol. I. pages 4 and 30. 

t Voyage into France, Italy, and the Islands of the Archipelago, in 1763. 
Vol. iv. Letter cxxvii. page 256. 


" fishes swim at their ease, and on which the small boats of 
" these cantons i-ow to get at the coast." 

The ports of Marseilles, Carthage, Malta, Rhodes, Cadiz, 
and many others are still frequented by Navigators, as they 
were in the remotest Antiquit}^ The Mediterranean could not 
have sunk at any one point of it's shores without sinking at 
every other, for water in the bason always comes to it's level. 
This reasoning may be extended to all the coasts of the Ocean. 
If there are found any where tracts of land abandoned, it is not 
because the Sea retires, but because the Earth is gaining ground. 
This is the eflfect of alluvions, occasioned frequently by the over- 
flowing of rivers, and sometimes by the ill-advised labours of 
Man. The encroachments of the Sea on the Land are equally 
local ; and are the effect of earthquakes, which can be extended 
to no great distance. As these reciprocal invasions of the two 
Elements are particular, and frequently in opposition on the 
same coasts, which have in other respects constantly preserved 
their ancient level, it is impossible to deduce from them any 
general law for the movements of the Ocean. 

We shall presently examine how so many marine fossils 
could have been extracted from it's bed ; and I confidently be- 
lieve, that, conformably to respectable traditions, we shall be 
able to advance something on this subject not unworthy of the 
Reader's attention. To return then to other mountains, such 
as those of granite, which are the highest on the Globe, and 
the formation of which has not been imputed to the Sea, be- 
cause they contain no deposit to attest such transition, the same 
Naturalists employ another system to account for their origin. 
They suppose a primitive Earth, whose height equalled that of 
the present elevation of the highest peaks of the Andes, of 
Mount Taurus, of the Alps, and other ridges, which remain so 
many evidences of the existence of that primeval soil : after this 
they employ snows, rains, winds, and I know not what besides, 
to lower this original Continent down to the brink of the Sea ; 
so that we inhabit only the bottom of this enormous quagmire. 
This idea has an imposing air ; first, because it terrifies ; and 
then, because it is conformable to that picture of apparent ruin 
which the Globe presents: but it vanishes away before this 
simple question, What has become of the earth and the rocks 
of this tremendous riddance ? 


If it is said, They have been thrown into the Sea. We must 
suppose, prior to all degradation, the existence of the bed of 
the Sea, and its excavation would then present a great many- 
other difficulties. But let us admit it. How comes it that 
those ruins have not, in part accumulated? Why has not the 
Sea overflowed? How can it have happened, on the contrary-, 
that it should have deserted such immense tracks of land as are 
sufficient to form the greatest part of two vast Continents ? Our 
systems therefore cannot account for the steepy elevation of 
mountains of granite by any kind of degradation, because they 
know not how to dispose of the fragments ; nor for the forma- 
tion of calcareous mountains, by the movements of the Ocean, 
because in it's actual state it is incapable of covering them. 

Besides, it is not an opinion of yesterday, that Philosophers 
have considered the Earth as a decaying edifice. Hear what 
Baron Runhrquius says of the opinion of Polybius^ in his curious 
and entertaining letters : " Poly bins pretends to have proved 
" that the entrance of the Black Sea would in process of time 
" be choked by the banks of sand and by the mud which the 
" Danube and the Boristhenes were constantly forcing into it: 
" and that consequently the Black Sea would be rendered inac- 
" cessible, and it's commerce entirely destroyed. The sea of 
*' Pontus, nevertheless, is just as navigable at this hour as in 
"" the days of Polybius.''^ * 

Bays, gulfs, and mediterranean seas, are no more the effects 
of irruptions of the Ocean into the Land, than mountains are 
productions of the centrifugal motion. These pretended dis- 
orders are necessary to the harmony of all the parts of the 
Earth. Let us suppose, for example, that the Straits of Gib- 
raltar were closed, as it has been said was formerly the case, 
and that the Mediterranean existed no longer. What would 
become of so many rivers of Europe, Asia, and Africa, which 
are kept flowing by the vapours which ascend out of that Sea, 
and bring back their waters to it in a wonderful exactness of 
proportion, as the calculations of man}^ ingenious men have de- 
monstrated ? The North winds which constantly refresh Egjpt 
in Summer, and which convey the emanations of the Mediter- 
ranean as for as the mountains of Ethiopia, to supply the sour- 

* Letter I. page 131. 


ces of the Nile, blowing in this case over a space destitute of 
water, would carry drought and barrenness over all the nor- 
thern regions of Africa, and even into the interior of that Con- 

The southern parts of Europe would fare still worse ; for the 
hot and parching winds of Africa, which load themselves with 
so many rainy clouds as they cross the IVIediterranean, now 
blowing over the dry bed of that Sea, without tempering the 
heat by humidity of any kind, would blast with scorching ster- 
ility all that vast region of Europe which extends from the 
Straits of Gibraltar to the Euxine Sea, and utterly dry up all 
the countries through which at present flow a multitude of 
rivers, such as the Rhone, the Po, the Danube, and the rest. 

Besides, it is not sufficient to suppose that the Ocean forced 
a passage into the bed of the Mediterranean, as a river spreads 
over a champaign country after having overflowerl it's banks ; it 
must farther be supposed that the track of land inundated was 
lower than the Ocean, a phenomenon not to be met with in any 
other part of the terra-Jirma^ all of which is above the level of 
the Sea, those parts excepted which have been wrested from the 
Deep by means of human industry, as is the case in Holland. 

It must still farther be supposed that a lateral sinking of the 
Earth must have taken place all round the bason of Mediterra- 
nean to regulate the circuits, declivities, canals, and windings of 
so many rivers which come from such a distance to empty them- 
selves into it, and that this sinking must have been effected with 
admirable proportions : for these rivers issuing in many cases 
from one and the same mountain, arrive by the same declivities 
to distances widely different without their channels ceasing to 
be full, or their waters flowing too fast or too slow, notwith- 
standing the difference of their courses and levels. 

It is not then to an irruption of the Ocean that we are to 
ascribe the Mediterranean, but to an excavation of the Globe, 
more than twelve hundred leagues long and above eight hun- 
dred broad, which has been executed with dispositions so happy 
and so favourable to the circulation of so many lateral rivers, 
that if time permitted me to trace the course of any single one, 
it would be evident how destitute of all foundation the suppo- 
sition IS which I am combating. Earthquakes indeed produce 
excavations, but of small extent ; and which far from forming 


channels for rivers, sometimes absorb the course of rivulets, and 
change them into pools or marshes. These hypotheses may be 
applied to all gulphs, bays, great lakes, and mediterranean seas ; 
and we shall be convinced that if these interior waters did not 
exist, not a fountain would remain in the greatest part of the 
habitable Globe. 

If we would form a just idea of the order of Nature, we must 
give up our circumscribed ideas of human order. We must re- 
nounce the plans of our Architecture, which frequently employs 
straight lines, that the weakness of our sight may be enabled to 
take in the whole extent of our domain at a single glance ; 
which s\Tnmetrizes all our distributions, and which in construct- 
ing our houses, places wings to the right and wings to the left, 
that all the parts of our habitation may be comprehended in a 
single view, while we occupy the centre ; and which levels, fits 
to the plummet, smoothes and polishes the stones employed in 
building, that the monuments we raise may be soft to the eye 
and to the touch. The harmonies of Nature are not those of a 
Sybarite ; but they are those of Mankind and of all beings. 
When Nature raises a rock, she introduces clefts, inequalities, 
points, perforations. She hollows and roughens it with the chisel 
of Time and of the Elements ; she plants herbs and trees upon 
it ; she stores it with animals, and places it in the bosom of the 
Sea in the very focus of storms and tempests, that it may there 
afford an asylum to the inhabitants of the Air and of the Waters. 

When Nature in like manner intended to scoop out basons 
to receive the Seas, she neither rounded the borders nor applied 
the line to them ; but contrived and produced deep bays, shel- 
tered from the general currents of the Ocean, that during stor- 
my weather the rivers might discharge themselves into it in 
security ; that the finny legions might resort thither for refuge 
at all seasons, there lick up the illuvion of the earth, carried 
down by the fresh water ; come thither to spawn, moimting 
upward and upward many of them toward tlte verj' source, 
where they can find both food and shelter for their young. And 
for the preservation of these adaptations it is that Nature has 
fortified every shore with long banks of sand, shelves, enormous 
rocks and islands, which are arranged round them at proper dis- 
tances, to protect them from the fury of the Ocean, 


She has employed similar dispositions in forming the beds of 
rivers, as we shall see in the sequel of this Study, though we 
have room only to glance at a subject so new and so fertile in 
observation. Accordingly she has made the current of rivers to 
flow not in a straight line, as they must have run had the laws 
of Hydraulics been observed, because of the tendency of their 
motions toward a single point ; but she makes them wind about 
for a long time through the bosom of the land before they pour 
themselves into the Sea. 

In order to regulate the course of those rivers, and to acce- 
lerate or retard it conformably to the level of the countries 
through which they flow, she pours into them lateral rivers, 
which accelerate it in a flat country when they form an acute 
angle with the source of the main river ; or which retard it in a 
mountainous country, by forming a right and sometimes an 
obtuse angle with the source of the principal stream. These 
laws are so infallible, that a judgment may be formed simply 
from the map, v/^hether the rivers which water any country are 
slow or rapid, and whether that country is flat or elevated, by 
the angles which the confluent rivers form with their courses. 

Thus most of those which throw themselves into the Rhone 
form right angles with that rapid river to check it's im- 
petuosity. Some of these confluent rivers are real dikes, which 
cross the main river from side to side in such a manner that 
the river crossed, which was running very rapidly above the 
confluence, flows very gently below it. This observation ap- 
plies to many of the rivers of America, and remarkably to the 
Mechassipi. From these simple perceptions, which I have at 
present only time to indicate, it may be concluded that it is 
easy to retard or accelerate the course of a river, by simply 
changing the angle of incidence of it's confluent rivers. I pro- 
duce this not as a matter of advice, but as a very curious spe- 
culation ; for it is always dangerous for Man to derange the 
plans of Nature. 

The rivers on throwing themselves into the Sea produce in 
their return, by the direction of their mouths, acceleration or 
retardation in the course of the tides. But I must not launch 
farther out into the study of these grand and sublime harmonies. 
I satisfy myself with having said enough to convince the candid 


Reader, that the bed of the Seas was scooped out expressly for 
the purpose of receiving them. 

Nevertheless I must produce one argument more, calculated 
to remove every possibility of doubt on the subject. Had the 
bed of the Seas been fonned, as is supposed, by a sinking do\vn 
of the solid parts of the Globe, the shores of the Sea underwa- 
ter would have the same declivities with the adjoining Conti- 
nent. Now this is not found to be the case on any coast what- 
ever. The declivity of the bason of the Sea is much steeper 
than that of the bounding lands, and by no means a prolongation 
of it. Paris, for example, is raised above the level of the Sea 
about 26 fathoms, reckoning from the base of the bridge of No- 
tre-Dame. The Seine accordingly, from this point to where it 
empties itself into the Sea, has a declivity of little more than 1 30 
feet in a distance of forty leagues j whereas measuring from the 
mouth of the river out into the sea only a league and a half, you 
find at once an inclination of from 60 to 80 fathom, for this is 
the depth at which vessels anchor in the road of Havre-de-Grace. 

These differences of level at land, from the level of the bed 
of the Sea in the same line of direction, are to be met with on 
all coasts more or less. Dampier^ an English Navigator, has 
indeed observed, that Seas which wash steep coasts are much 
deeper ; and that along flat shores their depth is small ; but this 
striking difference is universally observable, that along flat coasts 
the bed of the Sea is much more inclined than the soil of the 
adjoining Continent, and that along high lands sometimes no 
bottom is to be found. 

This clearly demonstrates therefore that the beds of the Seas 
were hollowed out expressly to contain them. The declivity of 
their excavations has been regulated by laws infinitely wise ; 
for if it were the same with that of the adjacent Lands, the bil- 
lows of the Sea whenever the wind blew toward the shore, how- 
ever lightly, would considerably encroach on the Land. This 
actually happens in the case of storms and extraordinary tides, 
the waves overflow their usual bounds ; for then meeting a de- 
clivity flat and gentle compared to that of their bed, they some- 
times inundate the Land to the distance of several leagues. 
This happens from time to time in the island of Formosa, the 
natural ramparts of which, such as the manglier, the inhabitants 
it is probable formerly destroyed. Holland for nearly a similar 

Vol. L N 


reason is exposed to inundations, because it has encroached on 
the very bed of the Sea. 

It is principally on the shores of the Ocean that the invisible 
boundary is fixed which the Author of Nature has prescribed 
to its waves. It is there you perceive that you are at the inter- 
section of two different planes, the one of which terminates the 
declivity of the Land, and the other commences that of the Sea. 
It cannot be alleged that it was by currents of the Sea the bed 
was hollowed out ; for where could the earth that filled it before 
be deposited? They could raise nothing above their own level. 
It cannot even be alleged that the channels of rivers have been 
excavated by the current of their own streams, for there are 
several which have found a subterraneous passage through 
masses of solid rock, so hard and so thick as to bid defiance to 
the pick-axes and the mattocks of our labourers. Besides, on 
the supposition which we are examining, these rivers must have 
formed at the place of their falling into the Ocean banks of sand, 
accumulations of earthy su,bstances, of aiuagnitude proportional 
to the quantity of ground which they must have cleared away 
in forming their channels. Most of them, on the contrary, as 
has been already observed, empty themselves at the bottom of 
bays, hollowed out for the express purpose of receiving them. 

How is it that they have not completely filled up those bays, 
as they are incessantly hurling down into them substances sepa- 
rated from the land ? Why is not the very bed of the Ocean 
choaked up, from the constant accumulation of the spoils of 
vegetables, sands, rocks, and the wreck of earth which on every 
shower that falls tinge with yellow the rivers which fall into it ? 
The v/aters of tl e Ocean have not risen a single inch since Man 
began to make o ^servations, as might easily be demonstrated 
from the state of the most ancient sea-ports of the Globe, which 
are still for the most part at the same level. 

Time permits me not to speak of the means employed by 
Nature, for the construction, the support, and the purification 
of this immense bason : they would suggest fresh subject of 
admiration. Enough has been said to prove that what in nature 
may appear to us the effect of ruin or chance, is in many cases 
the result of intelligence the most profound. Not only no hair 
falls from our head, and no sparrow from Heaven to the ground, 
but not a pebble rolls on the shore of the Ocean without the per- 


mission of GOD : according to that sublime expression of Job : 

Tcmpus posuit tenebris^ ^ universorwn fnem Ipse considerate 
lap'idem quoque caliginis^ ^ umbram mortis.* " He setteth an 
" end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection ; the stones 
" of darkness and the shadow of death :" He likewise knows 
the moment when that stone buried in darkness must spring 
into light, to serve as a monument to the Nations. 

Independent of geographical proofs without number, which 
demonstrate that the ocean by its irruptions has not hollowed 
out one single bay on the face of the Globe, nor detached any 
one part of the Continent from the rest, there are still many 
more which piay be deduced from the vegetable and animaj 
kingdoms and from Man. 

This is not the proper place for dwelling on the subject : but 
I shall quote on my way an observation from the vegetable 
World, which proves, for example, that Britain never was uni- 
ted to the European Continent, as has been supposed, but must 
have been from the beginning separated by the channel. It is 
a remark of Caesar's in his Commentaries, that during his stay 
in that Island he had never seen either the beech tree or the fir ; 
though these trees were very common in Gaul along the banks 
of the Seine and of the Rhine. If therefore these rivers had 
ever flowed through any part of Britain, they must have carried 
with them the seeds of the vegetables which grew at their 
sources or upon their banks. The beech and the fir which at 
this day thrive exceedingly well in Britain, must of necessity 
have been found growing there in the time of Julius Ciesar, 
especially as they would not have changed their latitude, and 
being, as we shall see in the proper place, of the genus of fluvi- 
atic trees, the seeds of which resow themselves through the as- 
sistance of the waters. Besides, from whence could the Seine, 
the Rhine, the Thames, and so many odier rivers, whose cur- 
rents are supplied from the emanations of the Channel, from 
whence, I say, could they have been fed with water? The 
Thames then must have flowed through France, or the Seine 
through England ; or, to speak more conformably to truth and 
nature, the countries now watered by these rivers would have 
been completely dry. 

• Job xxviii. 3. 


By our geographical charts, as by most other instruments of 
Science, we are misled. Observing in these so many retreat- 
ings and projections along the coasts of the Continent, we have 
been induced to imagine that these irregularities must have been 
occasioned by violent currents of the Sea. It has just been de- 
monstrated that this effect xvas not thus produced ; I now pro- 
ceed to shew that it could not possibly have been the case. 

The English Daynpier^ who is not the first Navigator that 
sailed round the Globe, but who is in my opinion the best of the 
travellers who have made observations on it, says in his excel- 
lent treatise on winds and tides : ^ " Bays scarcely have any 
" currents, or if there be such a thing, they are only counter-cur- 
" rents running from one point to another." He quotes many 
observations in proof of this, and many others of a similar na- 
ture are found scattered over the journals of other Navigators, 
Though he has treated only of the Currents between the Tro- 
pics, and even that with some degree of obscurity, we shall pro- 
ceed to generalize this principle, and to apply it to the principal 
bays of Continents. 

I reduce to two general Currents those of the Ocean. Both 
of these proceed from the Poles, and are produced in my opi- 
nion by the alternate fusion of their ices. Though this be not the 
place to examine the cause of it, to me it appears so natural, so 
new, and of such curious investigation, that the Reader, I flatter 
myself, will not be angry with me if I give him an idea of it 
on my way. 

The Poles appear to me the sources of the Sea, as the icy 
mountains are the sources of the principal rivers. It is, if I am 
not mistaken, the snow and the ice which cover our Pole that 
annually renovate the waters of the Sea, comprehended between 
our Continent, and that of America, the projecting and retreat- 
ing parts of which have besides a mutual correspondence, like 
the banks of a river. 

It may be remarked at first sight, on a map of the World, 
that the bed of the Atlantic Ocean becomes narrower and nar- 
rower toward the North, and widens toward the South ; and that 
the prominent part of Africa corresponds to that great retreat- 
ing part of America, at the bottom of which is situated the 

• Vol. ii. pag'e 385. 

STUDY IV. 101 

Gulf of Mexico; as the prominent part of South America cor- 
responds to the vast Gulf of Guinea ; so that this bason has in 
its configuration the proportions, the sinuosities, the source, and 
the mouth of a vast fluviatic channel. 

Let us now observe that the ices and snows form in the month 
of January on our Hemisphere a cupola, the arch of which ex- 
tends more than two thousand leagues over the two Continents, 
Avith a thickness of some lines in Spain, of some inches in France, 
of several feet in Germany, of several fathoms in Russia, and 
of some hundreds of feet beyond the sixtieth degree of latitude, 
such as the ices which Henry Ellis* and other Navigators of 
the North encountered there at Sea, even in the midst of Sum- 
mer, and of which some, if Ellis is to be believed, were from 
fifteen to eighteen hundred feet above its level ; for their eleva- 
tion must probably go on encreasing, up to the very Pole, in 
conformity to the proportions observable in those which cover 
the summits of our icy mountains ; which must give them, un- 
der the very Pole, a height which there is no possibility of de- 

From this simple outline,' it is clearly perceptible what an 
enormous aggregation of water is fixed by the cold of Winter, 
in our Hemisphere, above the level of the Ocean. It is so very 
considerable, that I think myself warranted to ascribe to the 
periodical fusion of this ice, the general movement of oiu- Ocean, 
and that of the tides. We may apply, in like manner, the effects 
of the fusion of the ices of the South Pole, which are there still 
more enormous, to the movements of its Ocean. 

No conclusion has, hitherto, been drawn, relatively to the 
movements of the Sea, from the two masses of ice so considera- 
ble, alternately accumulated and dissolved at the two Poles of 
the World. They necessarily must, however, occasion a very 
perceptible augmentation of its waters, on their return to it, by 
the action of the Sun, which partly melts them once every year ; 
and a great diminution, on being withdrawn, by the effect of the 
evaporations, which reduce them to ice at the Poles, when the 
Sun retires. 

I proceed to lay before the Reader, some observations and 
reflections on this subject, which I have the confidence to call 

• Ellis's Voyage to Hudson's-Bay. 


highly interesting ; and shall submit the decision to those who 
have not got into the trammels of system and party. I shall 
endeavour to abridge them to the vitmost of my power, and flat- 
ter myself with the hope of forgiveness, at least, in considera- 
tion of their novelty. I am going to deduce, merely from the 
alternate dissolution of the polar ices, the general movements of 
the Seas, which have hitherto been ascribed to gravitation, or to 
the attraction of the Sun, and of the Moon, on the Equator. 

It is impossible to deny, in the first place, that the Currents 
and the Tides come from the Pole, in the vicinity of the Polar 

Frederic 3Iarteyis^\y\\o^ in his voyage to Spitzbergen, in 1671, 
advanced as far as to the eighty-first degree of northern latitude, 
positively asserts, that the Currents, amidst the ices, set in to- 
ward the South. He adds, farther, that he can affirm nothing 
with certainty respecting the flux and reflux of the Tides. Let 
this be carefully remarked. 

Henry Ellis observed with astonishment, in his voyage to 
Hudson's-Bay, in 1746, and 1747, that the Tides there came 
from the North, and that they were accelerated, instead of be- 
ing retarded, in proportion as the latitude increased. He assures 
us that these effects, so contrary to their effects on our coasts, 
Avhere they come from the South, demonstrate that the Tides, 
in those high Latitudes, do not come from the Line, nor from 
the Atlantic Ocean. He ascribes them to a pretended commu- 
nication between Hudson's-Bay and the South Sea : a commu- 
nication which, with much ardour, he sought for, and which was 
indeed the object of his voyage; but now we have complete 
assurance that it does not exist, from the fruitless attempts 
lately made by Captain Cook to find it by the South Sea, to the 
north of California, in conformity to the advice, long before • 
given respecting it, b}' the illustrious Navigator Damp'ier^ whose 
sagacity and observations have, by the bye, greatly assisted 
Captain Cook in all his discoveries. 

Ellis further observed, that the course of these northern Tides 
of America, was so violent at Wager'' s Strait, which is about 
65 deg. 37 min. North Latitude, that it run at the rate of from 
eight to ten leagues an hour. He compares it to the sluice of a 
mill. He remarked that the surface of the water was there very 
fresh, which puzzled him exceedingly, by damping his hope of 

STUDY IV. 103 

a communication between this Bay and the South Seas. He 
remained, nevertheless, convinced of the existence of such a 
passage ; such is the pertinacity of Man in favour of pre-con- 
vinced opinions, in the very face of evidence. 

John Hiigiiez de Linschoten^ a Dutchman, had made nearly 
the same remarks on the currents of the northern Tides of Eu- 
rope,* when he was at Waigats Straits, at 70 deg. 20 min. North 
Latitude. In the two voyages which that exact Observer made 
to this Strait, in 1594 and 1595, undertaken in the view of dis- 
covering a passage to China by the North of Europe, he re- 
peated the same observations : " We observed," says he, " once 
" more, from the course of the tide, what we had already re- 
" marked with much exactness, that it comes from the East." 
He likewise observed, that there the water was brackish, or 
half salt ; this he ascribes to the fusion of a prodigious quantity 
of floating ice, which stopped his passage at Waigats Strait ; 
for the ice formed even of sea-water is fresh. But Linschoten 
draws no conclusion, any more than Ellis^ from these tides of 
water half fresh, which descend from the North ; and full of his 
object, like the English Navigator, he ascribes them to a Sea, 
which he supposes open to the East, beyond Waigats Strait, 
through which he proposed to find his way to China. 

His compatriot, the unfortunate William Barents, f who made 
the same voyage in the same fleet, but in another vessel, and 
who ended his days on the northern coasts of Nova Zembla. 
where he had wintered, found to the North and to the South of 
that island, a perpetual current of ice, setting in from the East, 
with a rapidity, which he compares, as Ellis does, to a sluice. 
Some of these ices were to 36 fathoms of depth under water, and 
1 6 fathoms high above the surface. This was at Waigats Strait, 
in the months of July and August. He found there some Rus- 
sian fishermen from Petzorah who navigated these Seas, cover- 
ed with floating rocks of ice, in a boat made of the bark of trees 
sewed together. These poor people made presents of fat gcesc 
to the Dutch mariners with strong demonstrations of friend- 
ship ; for calamity has in all Climates a powerful tendency to 

* Sec the first and sccoiicl Voyages to ff'aijats, by JL J. Linschoten 
Voyages to the North, vol. iv. page 204. 

t Consult the second and third Voyages of the Dutch by tlie North, in the 
first volume of the Voyages of the East India Company. 


conciliate affection between man and man. They informed him 
that this same Strait of Waigats, which was then disgorging 
such immense quantities of ice, would be entirely shut up to- 
ward the end of October, and that it would be possible to go into 
Tartary over the ice by what they called the Sea of Marmara, 

It is incontrovertible that all these effects which I have been 
relating can proceed only from the effusions of the ices which 
surround the Pole. I shall here remark by the way that these 
ices, which flow with such rapidity to the north of America 
and of Europe towards the month of July and August, greatly 
contribute to our high equinoctial tides in September ; and 
that when their effusions are stopped in the month of October, 
like those of Waigats, this too is the time when our Tides be- 
gin to deminish. 

I may now be asked, Why the Tides come from the North 
and the East toward the north of America and of Europe ; 
and from the South on our coasts, and on those of America 
which are under the same Latitudes ? 

I might satisfy myself with having said enough to demon- 
strate that all the Tides do not proceed from the pressure or 
the attraction of the Sun and of the moon on the Equator ; I 
should have proved the imperfection of our scientific systems 
which ascribe them to these causes : but I proceed to repair 
what I have been pulling down by other observations ; and 
to demonstrate that there is no one Tide on any coast what- 
ever but what owes it's origin to polar effusions. 

An observation oi Dampier's* will serve at first as a basis to 
my reasonings. That careful and ingenious observer distin- 
guishes between Currents and Tides. He lays it down as a 
principle founded on many experiments, of which he gives 
the history, that Currents are scarcely ever felt but at Sea, and 
Tides upon the Coasts. This being laid down : the polar effu- 
sions, which are the Tides of the North and of the East to 
those who are in the vicinity of the Poles, or of bays which 
have a communication with it, take their general course to the 
middle of the channel of the Atlantic Ocean, attracted toward 
the Line by the diminution of the waters which the Sun is 
there incessantly evaporating. They produce by their general 

* See Dampier'a Treatise on Winds and Tides. 


Atla?^tic hemisphere. 


■ •^TF^UHni (-/v/X-.p/mT;/ />'/#'■>' -'A /^,,/^ 






. \'0' 

STUDY IV. 105 

Current two contrary Currents or collateral Whirlpools similar 
to those which rivers produce on their banks. 

I am not taking for granted withouVany foundation the ex- 
istence of these counter-cuwents or vortices, after the manner 
of System-makers, who create new causes in proportion as 
Nature presents them with new effects. These vortices are 
hydraulic re-actions, the laws of which Geometry explains, 
and the reality of which is completely ascertained by experience. 
If you look at a small running brook, you will frequently see 
straws floating along the brink, and carried upward in a di- 
rection opposite to the general cuiTent of the stream ; and on 
arriving at the points where the counter-currents cross the ge- 
neral, you observe them agitated by these two opposed pow- 
ers turning and spinning round a considerable time, till they 
are at last carried down the general current. 

These counter-currents are still more preceptible, when 
such a rivulet flows through a bason which has itself no flux ; 
lor the re-action is in that case so considerable round the whole 
circumference of the bason, that the counter-current carry 
about all bodies floatmg in it to the very place where the rivulet 
disengages itself. 

These lateral counter-currents are so preceptible on the banks 
of rivers, that the watermen frequently take the advantage of 
them to make their way in the direction opposite to the general 
course. They are still more decidedly remarkable on the banks 
ot lakes. Father Charlevoix, M'ho has given us many judici- 
ous obser\'ations respecting Canada, informs us that when he 
embarked on lake Michigan he made out eight good leagues 
;i day by the assistance of these lateral counter-currents, 
though the wind was contrary. He supposes, and with good 
reason, that the rivers which throw themselves into this lake 
produce in the middle of it's waters strong contrary currents: 
" But these strong currents," says he,* " are preceptible only 
*' in the middle of the channel, and produce on the banks vor- 
*' tiers or counter-currents, of which those avail themselves 
"■ who ha\'c to coast along the shore, as is the case with per- 
'' sons who are obliged to take the water in canoes made of bark." 

Da»ipicr\s- Work is filled with observations on counter-cur- 
rents of the Ocean, which are very common, especially in the 
* CiiarLvoi.r, Ilislorv of New France. VoJ. vi. page 2. 

Vox. I. ' O 


straits of islands situated between the Tropics. He speaks 
frequently of the extraordinary effects produced by the meet- 
ing of the particular currents which occasion them ; but as he 
does not consider the Tides themselves as vortices of the ge- 
neral Current of the Atlantic Ocean ; and as I believe he did 
not so much as suspect the existence of it's general Current, 
though he has thoroughly investigated the two Currents or 
Monsoons of the Indian Ocean, I shall proceed to adduce 
certain facts which establish the most perfect conformity be- 
tween the Atlantic Current and those which he himself observed 
in the Indian Ocean and in the South-Seas. 

These facts will further prove to a demonstration the exist- 
ence of those polar effusions : for universally wherever those 
effusions happen to meet in their progress southward, their 
own counter-currents which are setting in toward the North, 
they produce by their collision Tides the most tremendous, and 
whose direction is diametrically opposite. 

Let us consider them only at their point of departure to-^ 
ward the North of Europe, where they begin to leave our coasts, 
and to stretch out into the open Sea. Pont Oppidmi says, in 
his history of Norway, that there is above Berghen a place 
called Malestrom, very formidable to mariners, where the Sea 
forms a prodigious vortex of several miles diameter, in which a 
great many vessels have been swallowed up. yames Beverell * 
says positively that there are in the Orkney islands two oppo- 
site Tides, the one running from the North- West, and the 
other from the South-east ; that they dash their roaring billows 
up to the clouds, and convert, the separating strait into an enor- 
mous mass of foam. The Orkneys lie a little under the Lati- 
tude of Berghen, and in the prolongation of the northern coast 
of Norway, that is, at the confluence of the polar effusions 
and of their counter-currents. 

Other islands of the Sea are in similar positions, as we could 
prove, did room permit. The channel of Bahama, for exam- 
ple, which runs with so much rapidity to the North, between 
the Continent of America and the Lucayo Islands, produces 
round those islands, by it's encountering the general Current of 
that Sea, Tides, the most tumultuous, and similar to those of 
the Orkneys, 

* See James Beverell, Beauties of Scotland, vol. vii. page 1405. 

STUDY IV. 107 

These counter-currents to the course of the Atlantic Ocean 
produce then our European and American Tides, which set in 
to the North on the coast, while it's general Current runs 
southward, at least in the Summer time. I could adduce a thou- 
sand other observations respecting the existence of these con- 
trary Currents ; but a single one, more general than those 
which I have quoted, will be sufficient for my purpose, both from 
it's importance and it's authenticity, being the first of all those 
which have been made in Europe, and perhaps the only one : 
it is that of Christopher Columbus^ when setting out on the 
discovery of the New World. 

He set sail from the Canaries about the beginning of Septem- 
ber and steered to the West. He found, during the first days 
of his voyage, that the currents carried him to the North East. 
When he had advanced two or three hundred leagues from the 
land, he perceived that their direction was southward. This 
greatly terrified his companions, who believed that the Sea was 
there driving to a precipice. Finally, as he approached the 
Lucayo Islands, he again found the currents setting in to the 
northward. The journal of this important voyage may be found 
in Her r era. 

My opinion is, that this general Current, which flows from 
our Pole in Summer with so much rapidity, and which is so 
violent towards it's source, according to the experience of Ellis 
and LinschoteUy crosses the equinoctial Line, in as much as it's 
flux is not stemmed by the effusions of the South Pole, which 
at that season are consolidated into ice. I presume, for the same 
reason, that it extends beyond the Cape of Good Hope, from 
whence it is directed to the torrid Zone, from which it is at- 
tracted by the diminution of the waters which the Sun is there 
incessantly pumping up ; and that being directed eastward, by 
the position of Africa and Asia, it forces the Indian Ocean into 
the same direction, contrary to it's usual motion. I consider it 
therefore as the prime mover of the westerly Monsoon, which 
takes place in the Seas of India in the month of April, and ends 
not till the month of September, 

I am likewise of opinion, that the general Current which 
issues during our Winter from the South Pole, at that time 
heated by the rays of the Sun, restores the Indian Ocean to it's 
natural motion westward, which is besides determined on this 


side by the general impulsions of the easterly winds which 
usually blow in the torrid Zone, when nothing deranges their 
course. I farther presume that this current in it's turn pene- 
trates into the Atlantic Ocean, directs it's motion northward by 
the position of America, and produces various other changes 
in our Tides. 

In fact, Froger says that in Brasil the Currents follow the 
Sun. They run southward when he is in the South, and north- 
ward when he is in the North.* Those who have had expe- 
rience of these effusions of the South Pole, beyond Cape Horn, 
have found that in the Summer of the Southern Hemisphere the 
Tides set in northward, as was observed by William Schouten^ 
who in January- 1661 discovered Maire's-Strait. But such, on 
the contrary, as have gone thither in the Winter of those regions, 
have found that the Tides run southward, and came from the 
North, as was observed by Fraser in the month of May of the 
year 1712. 

It now seems to me possible to explain the principal pheno- 
mena of our Tides from these polar effusions. It will be evi- 
dent, for example, why those of the evening should be stronger 
in Summer than those of the morning ; because the Sun acts 
more powerfully by day than night on the ices of the Pole, 
which are on the same Meridian with ourselves. This effect 
resembles the intermittence of certain fountains which are sup- 
plied from mountains of ice, and flow more abundantly in the 
evening than in the morning. It will farther be evident, how it 
happens that our morning Tides in Winter rise higher than those 
of the evening ; and why the order of our Tides changes at the 
end of every six months, as Bouguer] has well remarked, who 
thought the fact astonishing, but without assigning any reason 
for it ; because the Sun being alternately toward both Poles, the 
effects of the Tides must necessarily be opposite, like the causes 
which produce them. 

But I beg leave to suggest harmonies between the Ocean and 
the Poles still more extensive and more striking. At the Sol- 
stices the Tides are lower than at any other season of the year ; 
and these likewise are the seasons when there is most ice on the 
two Poles, and consequently least water in the Sea. The rea- 

* Voyage to the South Sea. 
t Bouguer, Treatise of Navigation, page 153. 

STUDY IV. 109 

son is obvious. The Winter Solstice is, with respect to us, the 
season of the greatest cold ; there is accordingly at that time on 
our Pole and on our Hemisphere the greatest possible accumu- 
lation of ice. It is indeed at the South Pole the Summer Sol- 
stice ; but there is little ice melted on this Pole, because the 
action of the greatest heat is not felt there as with us, but when 
the Earth has an acquired heat, superadded to the actual heat 
of the Sun, which takes place only in the six weeks that foUow 
the Summer Solstice ; and these give us likewise in our Summer 
the hottest season of the year, which we call the Dog-Days. 

At the Equinoxes, on the contrary, we have the highest Tides. 
And these are precisely the seasons when there is the least ice 
at the two Poles, and of course the greatest mass of water in the 
Ocean. At our autumnal Equinox, in September, the greatest 
])art of the ices of the North Pole, which has undergone all the 
heats of Summer, is melted, and those of the South Pole begin 
to dissolve. It is farther remarkable, that the tides at our ver- 
nal Equinox, in IVlarch, rise higher than those of September, 
because it is the end of Summer to the South Pole, which con- 
tains much more ice than ours, and consequently sends to the 
ocean a much greater mass of water. And it contains more ice, 
because the Sun is six days less in that Hemisphere than in 
ours. If I am asked, Why the Sun does not communicate his 
light and heat in exactly equal proportions to both Poles ? I 
shall leave it to the learned to assign the caiise^ but shall ascribe 
the reason of it to the Divine Goodness, which has been pleased 
U) bestow the larger share of these blessings on that half ol the 
Cilobe which contains the greatest quantity of dry land, and the 
j^reatest number of inhabitants. 

I shall say nodiing of the intermittence of these polar effu- 
ions, which produce on our coast two fluxes and two refluxes, 
nearly in the same time that the Sun, making the circuit of the 
( ilobe over our Hemisphere, alternately heats two Continents and 
two Oceans, that is, in the space of twenty-four hours, din-ing 
which his influence twice acts, and is twice suspended. Neither 
.hall I speak of their retardation, which is nearly three quarters 
of an hour from one day to another, and which seems to be re- 
(fulated by the different diameters of the polar cupola of ice, the 
extremities of which, melted by the Siui, diminish and retire 
from us everyday, and whose effusions must consequently require 


more time to reach the Line, and to return from the Line to us. 
Neither shall I dwell on the other relations which these polar 
periods have to the phases of the Moon, especially when she is 
at the full ; for her rays possess an evaporating heat, as the late 
experiments made at Rome and at Paris have demonstrated : 
for this would lay me under the necessity of detailing a series 
of observations and facts, which might carry me too far. 

Much less shall I involve myself in a discussion of the Tides 
of the South Pole, which in the Summer of that Pole in the 
open Sea came immediately from the South and South-west in 
vast surges, conformably to the experience of the Dutch Navi- 
gator Abel Tasman^ in the months of January and February 
1692 ; and of their irregularity on the coasts of that Hemisphere, 
such as those on the coasts of New Holland, where Dumpier in 
the month of January 1688 found to his great astonishment that 
the highest Tide, which set in from east-quarter-north, did not 
come till three days after full moon, and where his ship's com- 
pany, struck with consternation, were for several days together 
under the apprehension that their vessel, which they had hauled 
up on the beach to be refitted, could never be got afloat again.* I 
shall say nothing of those of New Guinea, where toA\'ard the end 
of April the same Navigator experienced several, on the con- 
trary, in the space of a single night, which extended, in direct 
opposition to ours, from North to South, and came from the 
West in very rapid swells tumultuous, and preceded by enor- 
mous surges which did not breiik; nor of the inconsiderable 
elevation of these Tides on the coast of Brasil, and in most of 
the islands of the South Sea, and of the East Indies, where they 
rise only five, six, seven feet, whereas Ellis found them twenty- 
five feet high at the entrance of Hudson's-Jiay, and Sir John 
Narbroughy twenty feet at the entrance of Magellan's Straits. 

Their course toward the Equator in the South Sea, their re- 
tardations and accelerations on those shores, their directions 
sometimes eastward, sometimes westward, according to the 
Monsoons ; finally, their rise, which increases in proportion as 
we approach the Pole, and diminishes in proportion to our dis- 
tance from it, even between the Tropics, demonstrate that their 
focus is not under the Line. The cause of their motions depends 

♦ Dumpier' s Voyag-es : Treatise on Winds and Tides, pages 373 and 3r9 


not on the Jittraction or the pressure of the Sun and of the Moon 
on that part of the Ocean ; for these forces would undoubtedly 
act there with the greatest energy, and in periods as regular as 
the course of these two luminaries ; but it seems to depend en- 
tirely on the combined heat of these same luminaries on the 
Poles of the Globe, the irregular effusions of which not being 
narrowed in the southern Hemisphere, as in ours, by the channel 
of two adjacent Continents, produce on the shores of the Indian 
Ocean and in the South Seas expansions vague and intermitting. 

It is sufficient therefore to admit these alternate effusions of 
the polar ices, which it is impossible to call in question, to ex- 
plain with the greatest facility all die phenomena of the Tides, 
and of the Currents of the Ocean. These phenomena present, 
in the journals of Navigators the most enlightened, a perpetual 
obscurity and a multitude of contradictions, as often as such 
Navigators persist in ascribing the causes of them to the con- 
stant pressure of the Moon and of the Sun on the Equator, 
without paying attention to the alternate Currents from the Poles, 
which direct their course to the Equator; to their counter-cur- 
rents, which returning toward the Poles produce Tides ; and to 
the revohitions which Winter and Summer effect on these two 

It has been supposed indeed in modem times that the Sea 
must be clear of ice under the Poles, and this is founded on the 
groundless assertion that the Sea freezes only along the shore ; 
but this supposition is the creature of men in their closets, in 
contradiction to the experience of the most celebrated Naviga- 
tors. The efforts of Captain Cook toward tlie Soudi Pole de- 
monstrate it's erroneousiiess. That intrepid mariner, in the 
month of February, the Dog-days of the Southern Hemisphere, 
never could approach nearer to that Pole, where there is no land, 
than the 70th degree of Latitude, that is, no nearer than five 
hundred leagues, diough he had coasted round it's cupola of 
ici. for a whole Summer; besides, this distance did not com- 
pose half the magnitude of the cupola, for he was permitted to 
advance so far only under favour of a b.iy, opened in a part of 
it's circumference, which every where else was of much greater 

These bays or openings are formed in the ice, merely by the 
influence of tlie nearest adjacent lands, where Nature has di'^- 


tributed sandy zones, to assist in accelerating the fusion of the 
polar ices at the proper season. Such are, to throw it out only 
on our way, for time permits me not here to unfold all the plans 
of this wonderful Architecture ; such, I say, are those long belts 
of sand Avhjch encompass South America, in Magellan's Land ; 
and those of Tartary, which commence in Africa, at Zara, or 
the Desert, and proceed forward till they terminate in the north 
of Asia. The winds in Summer convey the igneous particles 
with which those Zones are filled toward the Poles, where they 
accelerate the action of the Sun upon the ices. 

It is easy to conceive, independent of experience, that the 
sands multiply the heat of the Sun, by the reflections of their 
specular and brilliant parts, and preserve it a long time in their 
interstices. It is certain, at least, that the greatest openings in 
the polar ices are always to be found in the direction of the 
warm winds, and under the influence of these sandy tracks of 
land, as I could easily demonstrate were this the proper place. 
But we may see examples of it without quitting our own Con- 
tinent, nay, in our very gardens. In Russia, the rivers and lakes 
always begin to thaw at the banks, and the fusion of their ices 
is accelerated in proportion as the strand is more or less gra- 
%"elly, and as they meet relatively to the stand in the direction 
of the South wind. 

We observe the same eflfects in our own gardens towards the 
close of Winter. The ice which covers the gravel on the alleys 
melts first ; afterward that which is on the earth, and last of all, 
that which is in the basons. The fusion of this too begins at 
the brink, and the length of time necessary to complete it is in 
proportion to the extent of the bason ; so that the central part, 
or that which is farthest from the earth, is likewise the last that 

There can remain therefore not the slightest shadow of doubt 
that the Poles are covered with a cupola of ice, conformably to 
the experience of Navigators, and the dictates of natural rea- 
son. We have taken a glance of the icy dome of our own Pole, 
which covers it in winter to an extent of more than two thou- 
sand leagues over the Continents. It is not so easy to deter- 
mine it's elevation at the centre, and under the very Pole ; but 
the height must be immense. 

Astronomy sometimes presents in the Heavens an image of n 

STUDY IV. 113 

so considerable, that the rotundity of the Earth seems to be re- 
markably affected by it. 

I take the liberty of quoting what I find on this subject in an 
English Author of note, Childrey. * This naturalist supposes, 
as I do, that the Earth at the Poles is covered with ice to such 
a height that it's figure is thereby rendered sensibly oval. This 
he proves by two very curious astronomical observations. 
" What obliges me, besides," says he, " to embrace this para- 
*' dox is, that it serves to resolve admirably well a difficulty of 
" no small importance, which has greatly embarrassed Tycho 
" Brhae^ and Kepler^ respecting central eclipses of the Moon, 
*' which take place near the Equator; as that was which Tycho 
" observed in the year 1588, and that observed by Kepler in the 
" year 1624: of which he thus speaks : Notandum est hanc Lunce 
" edipsvn (iiistar illius qiiam Tycho^ anno 1588, observavit tota- 
" /em, ^ proximam centrali) egregie catculum fefellisse; nam 
*' non solum mora totius Lunce in tenebris brevis fuit^ sed et du- 
*' ratio reliqua multo magis; perinde quasi tellus ellipiica esset, 
" demetientem breviorem habens sub JEquatore^ longiorem a polo 
" uno ad alteram. That is. It is -worthy of remark^ that this 
" eclipse of the Moon^ (he is speaking of that of the 26th Sep- 
*' tember, 1624) like the one -which Tycho observed^ in the year 
" 1588, rvhich rvas total^ and very nearly central^ differed xvidely 
'•'' from the calculation ; for not only xvas the duration of total 
" darkness extremely shorty but the rest of the duration^ previous 
*' and posterior to the total obscuration^ xvas still shorter; as if 
** the figure of the Earth -were elliptical^ having the smaller dia- 
" meter under the Equator^ and the greater from Pole to Pole.'''* 

The detached masses, half melted, which are every year torn 
from the circumference of this cupola, and which are met with 
floating at sea prodigiously distant from the Pole, about the 
55th degree of Latitude, are of such an elevation, that Ellis, 
Cook,, Martens, and other Navigators of the North and of the 
South, the most accurate in their details, represent them, at 
least as lofty as a ship under sail : nay, Ellis, as has already 
been mentioned, does not hesitate to assign to them an eleva- 
tion of from 1500 to 1800 feet. They are unanimous in affirm- 
ing, that these vast fragments emit corruscations, wliich render 

• Natural History of England, pajcs "46 and 24". 

Vol. I. P 


them perceptible before they come to the Horizon. I shall re- 
mark by the way, that the Aurora Borealis^ or Northern Light, 
may very probably owe it's origin to similar reflections from the 
polar icesj the elevation of which may perhaps one day be de- 
termined by the extent of these very lights. 

Whatever may be in this, Denis, Governor of Canada, speak- 
ing of the ices which descend every summer from the North, 
upon the great bank of Newfoundland, says that they are 
higher than the turrets of Notre-Dame, and that they may be 
seen at the distance of from 15 to 18 leagues. Their cold is 
felt on ship-board at a similar distance. " They are," accord- 
ing to his own account, * " sometimes in such numbers, being 
" all carried forward by the same wind, that there have been 
" vessels, making toward the land to fish, which fell in with 
" some of them in a series of a hundred and fifty leagues in 
" length and upward ; which vessels coasted along them for a 
" day or two, the night included, with a fresh breeze, and every 
" sail set, without being able to reach the extremity. In this 
" manner they keep on under way, looking for an opening 
" through which the vessel may pass ; if they find one, they 
" cross it, as through a strait ; otherwise they must get on till 
" they have outsailed the whole chain, in order to make good 
" their passage ; for the way is throughout blocked up with 
" ice. These ices ^o not melt till they meet the warm water 
" toward the South, or are forced by the wind on the land side. 
" Some of them run aground in from 25 to 30 fathoms of wa- 
" ter; judge of their depth, exclusive of what is above water. 
" The fishermen have assured me that they saw one aground 
" on the great bank, 45 fathoms water, and which was at least 
" ten leagues round. It must have been of a great height. 
" Ships do not come near those ices, for there is danger lest 
" they should overturn, according as they dissolve on the side 
" exposed to the greatest heat." 

It is to be observed that the ices in question are already 
more than half melted by the time they reach the banks of 
Newfoundland ; for in fact they scarcely go any farther. It is 
the Summer's heat which detaches diem from the North, and 
they are enabled to make even such a progress southward only 

* Natural History of North-America. Vol. ii. chap. i. pages 44 and 45. 

STUDY IV. 115 

by means of floating down the current, which carries them to- 
ward the Line, where they arrive in a state of dissolution, to 
replace the waters which the Sun is continually evaporating in 
the ton'id Zone. 

These polar ices, of which our mariners see only the borders 
and the crumbs, must have at their centre an elevation propor- 
tioned to their extent. For my own part, I consider the two 
Hemispheres of the Earth as two mountains with their bases 
applied to each other at the Line, the Poles as the icy summits 
of those mountains, and the Seas as rivers flowing from those 

If then we represent to ourselves the proportions which the 
glaciers of Switzerland have to their mountains, and to the 
rivers which flow from them, we shall be able to form some 
faint idea of those proportions which the glaciers of the Poles 
bear to the whole Globe and to the Ocean. The Cordeliers of 
Peru, which are only mole-hills, compared to the two Hemis- 
pheres, and the rivers which issue from them only rills of wa- 
ter compared to the Sea, having selvages of ice from twenty to 
thirty leagues broad, bristled at their centre with pyramids of 
snow from twelve to fifteen hundred fathoms high. What then 
must be the elevation of these two domes of polar ice, which 
have in Winter bases of two thousand leagues in diameter ? I 
can have no doubt that their thickness at the Poles must have 
represented the Earth as oval, in central eclipses of the Moon, 
conformably to the obsei'vations of Kepler and Tycho Brhae. 

I deduce another consequence from this configuration. If 
the elevation of the polar ices is capable of changing in the 
Heavens the apparent form of the Globe, their weight, must be 
sufficiently considerable to produce some influence on it's mo- 
tion in the Ecliptic. There is in fact a very singular correspon- 
dence between the movement by which the Earth alternately 
presents it's two Poles to the Sun in one year, and the alternate 
eflfusions of the polar ices, which take place in the course of the 
same year. Let me endeavour to explain my conception of the 
way in which the motion of the Eurth is the elfect of these 

Admitting, with Astronomers, the laws of Attraction among 
the heavenly bodies, the Earth must certainly present to the 


Sun, which attracts it, the weightiest part of it's Globe. Now 
this weightiest part must be one of it's Poles, when it is sur- 
charged with a cupola of ice, of an extent of two thousand 
leagues, and of an elevation superior to that of the Continents. 
But as the ice of this Pole, which it's gravity inclines toward 
the Sun, melts in proportion to it's vertical approximation to the 
source of heat, and as, on the contrary, the ice of the opposite 
pole increases in proportion to it's removal, the necessary con- 
sequence must be, that the first Pole becoming lighter, and the 
second heavier, the centre of gravity passes alternately from 
the one to the other, and from this reciprocal preponderancy 
must ensue that motion of the Globe in the Ecliptic, which 
produces our Summer and Winter. 

From this alternate preponderancy, it must likewise happen 
that our Hemisphere, containing more land than the southern 
Hemisphere, and being consequently heavier, it must incline 
toward the Sun for a greater length of time ; and this too cor- 
responds to the matter of fact, for our Summer is five or six 
days longer than our Winter. A farther consequence is, that 
our Pole cannot lose it's centre of gravity till the opposite Pole 
becomes loaded with a weight of ice superior to the gravity of 
our Continent, and of the ices of our Hemisphere; and this 
likewise is agreeable to fact, for the ices of the South Pole are 
more elevated and more extensive than those of the northern ; 
for mariners have not been able to penetrate farther than to the 
yoth degree of South Latitude, whereas they have advanced no 
less than to 82° North. 

Here we have a glimpse of the reasons by which Nature was 
determined to divide this Globe into two Hemispheres, of 
which the one should contain the greatest quantity of dry land, 
and the other the greatest quantity of water ; to the end that 
this movement of the Globe should possess at once consistency 
and versatility. It is farther evident why the South Pole is 
placed immediately in the midst of the Seas, far from the vici- 
nity of any land ; that it might be able to load itself with a 
greater mass of marine evaporation, and that these evaporations 
accumulated into ice around it, might balance the weight of the 
Continents with which our Hemisphere is surcharged. 

And here I lay my account with being opposed by a very 
formidable objection. It is this. If the polar effusions occa- 

STUDY IV. 117 

sion the Earth's motion in the Ecliptic, the moment would 
come in which, it's two Poles being in equilibrio, it could pre- 
sent to the Sun the Equator only. 

I acknowledge that I have no reply to make to the difficulty 
alleged, unless this be admitted as such ; We must have re- 
course to an immediate will of the Author of Nature, who is 
pleased to destroy the. instant of this equilibrium, and who re- 
establishesjthe balancing of the Earth on it's Poles, by laws with 
which we are unacquainted. Now this concession no more 
weakens the probability of the hydraulic cause which I apply to 
it, than that of the principle of the attraction of the heavenly 
bodies, which attempts to explain it, I am bold to say, with 
much less clearness. This very attraction would soon deprive 
the Earth of all manner of motion, if it acted on the stars only. 
If we would be sincere, it is in the acknowledgment of an in- 
telligence superior to our own, that all the mechanical causes 
of our most ingenious systems must issue. The will of GOD 
is the ultimatum of all human knowledge. 

From this objection, however, I shall deduce consequences 
which will diffuse new light on the ancient effects of polar ef- 
fusions, and on the manner in which they might have produced 
the Deluge.* 

* The Priests of Egypt maintain, according' to Herodotus, that the Sun 
had several times deviated from his course, according-ly ouj- Hypothesis has 
nothings new in it. They had, perhaps, deduced the same consequences from 
ihis that we have done. One thing is certain ; tliey believed tliat the earth 
would, one day, perish by a general conflagration, as it had been before over- 
whelmed by an universal deluge. Nay, I believe it was one of their Kings, 
who, as a security against either one or the other of these calamities, had 
two pyramids l)uilt, the one of brick, a preservative against fire ; the other 
of stone, a preservative against an inundation. The opinion of a future con- 
flagration of Nature is diffused over many nations. But effects so tei'rible, 
which would speedily result from the mechanical causes by wliich Man en- 
deavours to explain tlie laws of Natui-e, can take place only by an immediate 
order of the Deity. He preserves his works conformably to the same Wis- 
dom with which they were created. Astronomers have for many Ages been 
observing the annual motion of the Earth in the Ecliptic, and never have 
they seen the Sun so much as a single second short of or beyond the Tro- 
pics. GOD governs the World by variable powers, and deduces from these 
harmonies which are invai'iable. The Sun neither moves in the circle of the 
Equator, which would set the Earth on fire, nor in that of the Mei-idian, 
which would produce an inundation of water ; but his course is traced in 
the Ecliptic, describing a spiral line between the two Poles of the Woiid 


On the supposition then of the re-establishment of the equi- 
librium between the Poles, and of the Earth's constantly pre- 
senting it's Equator to the Sun, it is extremely probable that in 
this case it would be set on fire. In fact, on this hypothesis, 
the waters which are under the Equator, being evaporated by 
the unremitting action of the Sun, would become irrevocably 
fixed in ice at the Poles, where they would receive without ef- 
fect the influence of that luminary, which would be to them 
constantly in the Horizon. The Continents being thus dried 
up, under the torrid Zone, and inflamed by a heat every day 
increasing, would quickly catch fire. Now, if it be probable 
that the Earth would perish by fire, were the Sun's motion con- 
fined to the Equator, it is no less probable that it must be de- 
luged with waters if the course of the Sun were in the direc- 
tion of the Meridian. Opposite means produce contrary effects. 

We have just seen that the alternate eff"usions of part of the 
polar ices merely are sufficient for renewing all the waters of 
the Ocean, for producing all the phenomena of the Tides, and 
for effecting the balancing of the Earth in the Ecliptic. We 
believe them capable of entirely inundating the Globe, were the 
fusion to take place all at once. Let it be but remarked, that 
the effusion of only a part of the ices of the Cordeliers, in 
Peru, is sufficient to produce an annual overflow of the Ama- 
zon, of the Oroonoko, and of several other great rivers of the 
New World, and to inundate a great part of Brasil, of Guiana, 
and of the Terra Firma of America ; that the melting of part 
of the snows on the mountains of the Moon in Africa, occasions 
every year the inundations of Senegal, contributes to those of 
the Nile, and overflows vast tracts of country in Guinea, and 
the whole of Lower Egypt ; and that similar eftects are annu- 
ally reproduced in a considerable part of southern Asia, in the 
kingdoms of Bengal, of Siam, of Pegou, and of Cochin-China, 
and in the districts watered by the Tigris, the Euphrates, and 
many other rivers of Asia, which have their sources in chains 
of mountains perpetually covered with ice, namely, Taurus and 

In tills harmonious course he dispenses cold and heat, dr3.niess and humidity, 
and derives from these powers, each of them destructive by itself, Latitudes 
so varied and so temperate all over the Globe, that an infinite number of 
creatures of an extreme delicacy find in them every degree of temperature 
adapted to the nature of their frail existence. 

STUDY IV. 119 

Imaus. Who then can entertain a doubt that the total fusion 
of the ices of both Poles, would be sufficient to swell the Ocean 
above every' barrier, and completely to inundate the two Con- 
tinents ? 

The elevation of these two cupolas of polar ice, vast as 
Oceans, must it not far surpass the height of the highest land, 
when the simple fragments of their extremities, after they are 
half dissolved, are as high as the turrets of Notre-Dame ; nay, 
rise to the height of from fifteen to eighteen hundred feet above 
the Sea ? The ground on which Paris stands, at forty leagues 
distance from the shore of the Sea, is only twenty-two fathom 
above the level of neap-tides, and no more than eighteen above 
the highest spring-tides. A great part of both the Old and of 
the New World is of an elevation much inferior even to this. 

For my own part, if I may venture to declare my opinion, I 
ascribe the general Deluge to a total effusion of the polar ices, 
to which may be added that of the icy mountains, such as the 
ices of the Cordeliers and of Mount Taurus, the chains of 
which extend from twelve to fifteen hundred feet in length, 
with a breadth of twenty or thirty leagues, and an elevation of 
from twelve to fifteen hundred fathom. To these may be still 
farther added the waters diffused over the Atmosphere in 
clouds and imperceptible vapours, which would not fail to form 
a very considerable mass of water were they collected on the 

My supposition then is, that at the epocha of this tremen- 
dous catastrophe, the Sun, deviating from the Ecliptic, advanced 
from South to North,* and pursued the direction of one of 
the Meridians which passes through the middle of the Atlan- 
tic Ocean and of the Soiuh-Sea. In this course he heated only 
a Zone of water, frozen as well as fluid, which through the 

* I find an historical testimony in support of this hy-pothesis in the History 
of (;hiti:(, by Father Martini, Book I. " During the rcig'n of fuus, the 
" sev-tnlh Eniprror, the Annals of the CounU-y relate, that for six diys tog-o- 
" llier the Sun never set, so tliat a gejieral conHagration was apprehended." 
The result, on the contrary, was a deluge whieh inundated the whole of 
Chinu. The epoch of this Chinese deluge, and that of the Universal Deluge, 
are in the same century. Yuus was born 2307 years before Christ, and 
the Universal Deluge happened 2348 years before the same epoch, accord- 
ing- to tlie Hebrew computation. The Eg)-ptlans, likewise, had ti-aditions 
respecting tlicsc ancicut alterations of tlic Sun's course. 


greatest part of the circumference has a breadth of two iliou- 
sand five hundred leagues. He extracted long belts of land 
and sea-fogs, which accompany the melting of all ices, of the 
chain of the Cordeliers, of the different branches of the icy 
mountains of Mexico, of Taurus, and of Imaus, which like 
them run South and North ; of the sides of Atlas, of the sum- 
mits of Teneriff, of Mount Jura, of Ida, of Lebanon, and of 
all the mountains covered with snow, which lay exposed to his 
direct influence. 

He quickly set on fire with his vertical flame the Constella- 
tion of the Bear, and that of the cross of the South ; and pre- 
sently the vast cupolas of ice on both Poles smoked on every 
side. All these vapours, united to those which arose out of the 
Ocean, covered the Earth with an universal rain. The action 
NDf the Sun's heat was farther augmented by that of the burning 
winds of the sandy Zones of Africa and Asia, which blowing, 
as all winds do, toward the parts of the Earth where the air is 
most rarefied, precipitated themselves, like battering rams of 
fire, toward the Poles of the World, where the Sun was then 
acting with all his energy. 

Innumerable torrents immediately burst from the North Pole, 
which v,^as then the most loaded with ice, as the Deluge com- 
menced on the 17th of February, that season of the year when 
Winter has exerted it's full power over our Hemisphere. These 
torrents issued all at once from every floodgate of the North j 
from the straits of the Sea of Anadir, from the deep gulph of 
Kamtschatka, from the Baltic Sea, from the strait of Waigats, 
from the unknown sluices of Spitzbergen and Greenland, from 
Hudson's Bay, and from that of Baffin, which is still more re- 
mote. Their roaring cuiTents rushed furiously down, partly 
through the channel of the Atlantic Ocean, hurled it up from 
the abysses of it's profound bason, drove impetuously beyond 
the Line, and their collateral counter-tides forced back upon 
them, and increased by the Currents from the South Pole, which 
had been set a-flowing at the same time, poured upon our coasts 
the most formidable of Tides. They rolled along in their surges 
a part of the spoils of the Ocean, situated between the ancient 
and the new Continent. They spread the vast beds of shells 
which pave the bottom of the Seas at the Antilles and Cape- 
de-Verd Islands, over the plains of Normandy ; and carried 

STUDY IV. 121 

even those which adhere to the rocks of Magellan's Strait, as 
far as to the plains which are watered by the Saone. Encoun- 
tered by the general Current of the Pole, they formed at their 
confluences horrible counter-tides, which conglomerated in their 
vast funnels, sands, flints, and marine bodies, into masses of in- 
digested granite, into irregular hills, into pyramidical rocks, 
whose protuberances variegate the soil in many places of France 
and of Germany. These two general Currents of the Poles 
happening to meet between the Tropics, tore up from the bed 
of the Seas huge banks of madrepores, and tossed them, unse- 
parated, on the shores of the adjacent islands, where they sub- 
sist to this day. =^ 

In other places their waters slackened at the extremity of 
their course, spread themselves over the surface of the ground 

* I have seen in the Isle of France some of these great beds of madre- 
pores, of the height of seven or eight feet, resembling ramparts, left quite 
dry more than three hundred paces from the shore. The ocean has left on 
every land some traces of it's ancient excursions. There have been found, 
on the steep strand of the district of Caux, some of the shells peculiar to 
the Antilles Islands, particidarly a very large one, called the Thuilee ; in 
the vineyards of Lyons, that which they call the cock and hen, which is 
caught alive in no Sea whatever but the Straits of Magellan; the teeth and 
jaws of sharks, in tlie sands of Estampes. Our quarries are filled with the 
spoils of the Southern Ocean. On the other hand, if we may believe the 
Memoirs of Father le Conite, the Jesuit, there are in China sU-ata of vegetable 
earth from three to four hundred feet deep. The Missionary ascribes to 
these, and with good reason, the extreme fertility of that country. Our best 
soils in Eui'ope are not above three or four feet deep. If we had Geogra- 
phical Charts which should I'cpresent the different layers of our fossil shells, 
we might distinguish in them the directions and the focuses of the ancient 
currents which lodged them. I shall pursue this idea no further ; but here 
is another, which may present new objects of curiosity to the learned, who 
put greater value on the monuments raised by Man, than on those ot Na- 
ture. It is this. As we find in the fossils of these western regions a multi- 
tude of tlie monuments of tlie Sea, we might perhaps be able to trace those 
of our ancient Continent, in those strata of vegetable earth, of three and four 
hundred feet depth, in the countries of the East. First, it is certain, fl-om 
the testimony of the Missionary above quoted, that pit-coal is so common in 
China, that most of the Chinese make use of no other fuel. Now, it is well 
known that pit-coal owes it's origin to the forests which liave been buried in 
the bowels of the Earth. It might be possible, therefore, to find amidst 
these wrecks of the vegetable creation those of terrestrial animals, of men, 
and of tlie first arts of the World, such at lc:\st .is posses'tcd some degree of 

Vol.. I. Q 


in vast sheets, and deposited, by repeated undulations, in ho- 
rizontal layers, the wreck and the vicissitudes of an infinite 
number of fishes, sea-urchins, sea-weeds, shells, corals, and 
formed them into strata of gravel, pastes of marble, of marie, 
of plaster and calcareous stones, which constitute to this day 
the soil of a considerable part of Europe. Every layer of oui- 
fossils was the effect of an universal Tide. While the effusions 
of the polar ices were covering the westerly extremities of our 
Continent with the spoils of the Ocean, they were spreading 
over it's easterly extremities those of the Land, and deposited 
on the soil of China strata of vegetable earth, from three to 
four hundred feet deep. 

Then it was that all the plans of Nature were reversed. 
Complete islands of floating ice, loaded with white bears, run 
aground among the palm-trees of the torrid Zone, and the ele- 
phants of Africa were tossed amidst the fir-groves of Siberia, 
where their large bones are still found to this day. The vast 
plains of the Land, inundated by the waters, no longer present- 
ed a career to the nimble courser, and those of the Sea, roused 
into fury, ceased to be navigable. In vain did Man think of 
flying for safety to the lofty mountains. Thousands of torrents 
rushed down their sides, and mingled the confused noise of 
their waters with the howling of the winds and the roaring of 
the thunder. Black tempests gathered round their summits, 
and diffused a night of horror in the very midst of day. In 
vain did he turn an eager eye toward that quarter of the Hea- 
vens where Aurora was to have appeared : he perceives nothing 
in the whole circuit of the Horizon but piles of dark clouds 
heaped upon each other ; a pale glare here and there furrows 
their gloomy and endless battalions; and the Orb of Day, 
veiled by their lurid corruscations, emits scarcely light suffi- 
cient to afford a glimpse in the firmament of his bloody disk, 
wading through new Constellations. . 

To the disorder reigning in the Heavens, Man, in despair, 
yields up the safety of the Earth. Unable to find in himself 
the last consolation of Virtue, that of perishing free from the 
remorse of a guilty conscience, he seeks at least to conclude his 
last moments in the bosom of Love or of Friendship. But in 
that age of criminality, when all the sentiments of nature were 
stifled, friend repelled friend, the mother her child, the husband 

STUDY IV. 123 

the wife of his bosom. Every thing was swallowed up by the 
waters: cities, palaces, majestic pjTamids, triumphal arches 
embellished with the trophies of Kings: and ve also which 
ought to have sur\'ived the ruin even of a World, ye peaceful 
grottos, tranquil bowers, humble cottages, the retreat of inno- 
cence ! There remained on the Earth no trace of the glory and 
felicity of the Human Race in those days of vengeance, when 
Nature involved in one ruin all the monuments of her greatness. 

Such convulsions, of which traces without number still re- 
main on the surface, and in the bowels of the Earth, could not 
possibly have been produced simply by the action of an univer- 
sal rain. 

I am aware that the letter of Scripture Is express in respect 
to this ; but the circumstances which the Sacred Historian com- 
bines, seem to admit the means which, on my hypothesis, ef- 
fected that tremendous revolution. 

In the book of Genesis it is said, that it rained over the 
whole Earth for forty days and forty nights. That rain, as we 
have alleged, was the result of the vapours produced by the 
melting of the ices, both of the Land and of the Sea, and by the 
Zone of Water which the Sun passed over, in the direction of 
the Meridian. As to the period of forty days, that quantity of 
time appears to me abundantly sufficient to the vertical action of 
the Sun on the polar ices, to reduce them to the level of the 
Seas, as scarcely more than three weeks are necessaiy, of the 
proximity of the Sun to the Tropic of Cancer, to melt a consi- 
derable part of those on our pole. Nay, at that season, nothing 
more seems to be wanting but a few puffs of southerly or south- 
west wind for a few days to disengage from the ice the sou- 
thern coast of Nova-Zembla, and to clear the strait of Waigats, 
as has been observed by Martens, Barents, and other Naviga- 
tors of the North. 

It is farther said, in the Book of Genesis, " all the fountains 
" of the great Deep were broken up, and the xvindoxvs of Hea- 
" ven were opened." The expression, the fountains of the great 
Deep, can, in my opinion, be applied only to an effusion of the 
polar ices, which are the real effusions of the Sea, as the effu- 
sions of the ice on mountains are the sources of all the great 
rivers. The expression, the zvindows, or cataracts, of Heaven, 
denotes likewise, if I am not mistaken, the universal solution of 


the waters diffused over the Atmosphere, which are there sup- 
ported by the cold, the focuses of which were then destroyed at 
the Poles. 

It is afterwards said, in Genesis, that after it had rained for 
forty days, GOD made a xvind to hlow^ which caused the waters 
that covered the Earth to disappear. This wind undoubtedly 
brought back to the Poles the evaporations of the Ocean, which 
fixed themselves a-new in ice. The Mosaic account, finally, 
adds circumstances which seem to refer all the effects of this 
wind to the Poles of the World, for it is said. Gen. viii. 2, 3. 
" The fountains also of the Deep, and the windows of Heaven 
" were stopped, and the rain from Heaven was restrained ; and 
" the -waters returned from off the Earth conthmally^ and after 
" the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated." 

The agitation of these waters from side to side continually, 
perfectly agrees to the motion of the Seas from the Line to the 
Poles, which must then have been performed without any ob- 
stacle, the Globe being on that occasion entirely aquatic ; and it 
being possible to suppose that it's annual balancing in the Eclip- 
tic, of which the polar ices are at once the moving power and 
the counterpoise, had degenerated at that time into a diurnal 
titubation, a consequence of it's first motion. These waters 
retired then from the Ocean, when they came to be converted 
a-neAv into ice upon the Poles ; and it is worthy of remark, that 
the space of a hundred and fifty days, which they took to fix 
themselves in their former station, is precisely the time which 
each of the Poles annually employs, to load itself with it's pe- 
riodical congelations. 

We find, besides, in the sequel of this historical account of 
the Deluge, expressions analagous to the same causes : " GOD 
" said again to Noah, while the Earth remaineth, seed time 
" and harvest, and cold, and heat, and Summer, and Winter, 
" and day and night, shall not cease." * 

There must be nothing superfluous in the Words of the Author 
of Nature, as there is nothing of this description in his Works. 
The deluge, as has been already mentioned, commenced on 
the seventeenth day of the second month of the year, which 
was among the Hebrews, as with us, the month of Februan^ 

* Gen. ch. viii. ver. 22. 

STUDY IV. 125 

Man had by this time cast the seed into the ground, but reaped 
not the harvest. That year cold succeeded not to the heat, nor 
Summer to Winter, because there was neither Winter nor cold, 
from the general fusion of the polar ices, which are their natural 
focusses ; and the night, properly so called, did not follow the 
day, because then there was no night at the poles, where there 
is alternately one of six months, because the Sun, pursuing the 
direction of a Meridian, illuminated the whole Earth, as is the 
case now when he is in the equator. 

To the authority of Genesis, I shall subjoin a very curious 
passage from the Book of Job,* which describes the Deluge and 
the Poles of the World, with the principal characters of them 
which I have just been exhibiting. 

4. Ubi eras quando ponebam fundamenta Terrae ? Indica 
Mihi, si habes intelligentiam. 

5. Quis posuit mensuras ejus, si nosti ? Vel quis tetendit 
super eam, lineam ? 

6. Super quo bases illius solidatse sunt ? Aut quis demisit 
lapidem angularem ejus, 

7. Cum mane laudarent simul Astra matutina, & jubilarent, 
omnes Filii Dei ? 

8. Quis conclusit ostiis f Mare, quando erumpebat quasi ex 
utero procedens : 

* Ch. xxxviii. 
t Though the sense which I affix to this passage docs not greatl)' dificr 
from that of M de Saci, in liis excellent translation of the Bible, there are, 
at the same time, several expressions, to whicli I assign a meaning rather 
opposite to that of this learned Gentleman. 

1st. Ostium, properly speaking, signifies an opening, a disgorging, a 
sluice, a flood-gate, a moutli ; and not a ban-ier, according to AVa's trans- 
lation. Observe liow admirably the sense of this verse, and of that which 
follows, is adapted to the state of constraint and activity to which the Sea is 
restricted at the Poles, surrounded with clouds and darkness, like a child in 
;!waddling clothes in his cradle. Tliey are likewise expressive of the thick 
fogs wliich surround the basis of the polar ices, as is well known to all the 
■mariners of the North. 

2dly. Tlie preceding epithets of the foundations of the Earth ,- of the fasten- 
iriff of the fowulatioiis ,- of stretching' the line npon it ; of tlie Sea's breaking 
forth, as if issuing from tlie wonib, determine particularly the Poles of the 
World, from whence the Seas flow over tlie rest of the Globe. The epithet 
of comer stone, seems likewise to denote more particularly the North Pole, 
which, by it's magnetic attraction, distinguishes itself from every other point 
of the Earth 


9. Cum ponerem nubem vestimentum ejus, & caligine, illud, 
quasi pannis infantiae, obvolverem ? 

10. Circumdedi illud terminis meis, & posui vectem & ostia : 

11. Et dixi : usque hue venies, sed non precedes amplius ; 
& hie confringes tumentes fluctus tuos. 

12. Numquid post ortuum praecepisti diliculo, & ostendisti 
Aurorae, * locum suum ? 

13. Et tenuisti concutiens extrema Terr*, & excussisti im- 
pios ex ea ? 

14. Restituetur ut lutum f signaculum, & stabit sicut vesti- 

15. Auferetur ab impiis lux sua, & brachium excelsum con- 

16. Numquid ingressus es profunda Maris, & in novissimis 
Abyssi :|: deambulasti ? 

1 7. Numquid apertse sunt tibi portae Mortis, § & ostia tene- 
brosa vidisti ? 

* ^urorie locum suum, the place of the Aurora. The Aurora Borealis is 
perhaps here intended. The cold of the Poles produces the Aurora, for there 
is scarce any such thing- between the Tropics. The Pole is according-ly, 
properly speaking-, the natural place of the Aurora. In the verse following-, 
the expression, tcnnixti concutiens extrema Terra: evidently characterizes the 
total effusions of the polar ices, situated at the extremities of the Earth, 
which occasioned the Universal Delug'c. 

f Restituetur ut lutum signaculum. This verse is very obscure in the 
Translation of M. de Saci. It appears to me here descriptive of the fossil 
shells, which over the whole Earth are monuments of the Deluge. 

i Jn novissimis Abyssi, in the search (at the sources) rf the Depth. Saci 
translates it, in the extremities of the Abyss. This version destroys the cor- 
respondence of the expression under review, with that of the other polar 
characters, so clearly explained before ; and the antithesis of novissima, with 
that of profunda Maris, which g-oes before, by affixing- the same meaning to 
it. Antithesis is a figure in frequent use among the Orientals, and especially 
in the Book of Job. JVovissima Abyssi, literally denote the places which reno- 
vate the Abyss, the sources of the Sea, and consequently the polar ices. 

§ Portce Mortis, & ostia tenebrosa ; the gates of Death, and the doors of the 
ahadotv of Death, or, the gates of Darkness. The Poles, being uninhabhable, 
are in reality the gates of Death. The epithet dark here denotes the nights 
of six months duration, which hold their empire at the Poles. Tliis sense is 
farther confirmed by what is subjoined in the following verses ; the locus te- 
nebrarum, place ofd;;rkness, and tJie thesaurus nivis, treasure of the snow. 
The Poles are at once the place of darkness, and that of the Aurora. 



18. Numquicl considerasti latitudinem Terrse ? * Indica Mihi, 
si nosti omnia. 

1 9. In qua via lux habitet, et tenebrarum quis locus sit. 

20. Ut ducas unumquodque ad terminos suos, & intelligas 
semitas domus ejus. 

21. Sciebas tunc quod nasciturus esses? Et numerum dierum 
tuorum noveras. 

22. Numquid ing^essus es thesauros nivis, aut thesauros gran- 
dinis aspexisti. 

23. Quae preparavi in tempus hostis, in diem pugnae & belli. 

Common Version of the Bible. 

4. Where wast thou, when I laid 
the foundations of the F'arth? Declare, 
if thou hast understanding. 

5. Who hath laid the measures 
thcitof ; if thou knowest ? Or who 
hust stretched the line upon it ? 

6. Whereupon are the foundations 
thereof fastened ? Or who laid the 
corner-stone thereof ? 

7. When tlie morniniy stars san^ 
together, and all tlie sons of GOD 
shouted for joy. 

8. Or who shut up the Sea with 
doors, when it brake fortli, as if it 
had issued out of the womb ? 

9. When I made the cloud the gar- 
ment thereof, and thick darkness a 
swaddling band for it, 

10. And brake up for it my decreed 
place, and set bars and doors, 

11. And said. Hitherto shalt thou 
come, but no farther : and here shall 
thy j)roud waves be staid. 

Tt-anslation of Saint-Pierre's Version. 

4. Where wast thou when I laid 
the foundations of the Earth ? Tell 
it Me, if thou hast any knowledge. 

5. Knowest thou who it is that de- 
termined it's dimensions, and who 
regulated it's levels ? 

6. On what are its bases secured ; 
and who fixed it's coi'ner-stone ! 

7. When the Stars of the morning 
praised Me all together, and when all 
the Sons of GOD were transported 
with joy. 

8. Who appointed gates to the Sea, 
to shut it up again, when it inunda- 
ted the Earth, rushing as from it's 
mother's womb ; 

9. When I gave it the clouds for a 
covering, and wrapped it up in dark- 
ness, as a child is wrapped up in 
swaddling clothes ? 

10. I shut it up within bounds well- 
known to me ; I appointed for it a 
bulwark and sluices, 

11. And said to it. Thus far shalt 
thou come, but farther thou shalt not 
pass, and here the pride of tJiy bilr 
lows shall be broken. 

• Latitudinem Terra. Literally : Ilaiit thou perceived the breadth (the Lati- 
tude) of the Earth ? In truth, all the characters of the Pole could be known 
only to those who had coursed over the Earth in it's Latitude. There were, 
in the times of Job, many Arabian travellers who went eastward, and west- 
ward, and southward, but very few who had travelled northward, that i? 
lo say, in Latitude 



12. Hast thou commanded the 
morning since thy days ? and caused 
the day-spring to know his place. 

13. That it might take hold of the 
ends of the earth, that the wicked 
might be shaken out of it ? 

14. It is turned as clay to the seal, 
and they stand as a garment. 

15. And from the wicked their 
light is witli-holden, and the high 
arm shall be broken. 

16. Hast thou entered into the 
springs of the Sea ? or hast thou 
walked in the search of the Depth ? 

17. Have the gates of Death been 
opened unto thee ? or hast thou seen 
the doors of the shadow of Death ? 

18. Hast thou perceived the 
breadth of the Earth ? Declare if 
thou knowest it all. 

19. Where is the way where light 
dwelleth ? and as for darkness, where 
is the place thereof ? 

20. That thou shouklest take it to 
the bound thereof, and that thou 
shouldest know the paths to the 
house thereof ? 

21. Knowest thou it, because thou 
wast then born ? or because the num- 
ber of thy days is gi'eat ? 

22. Hast thou entered into the 
treasures of the snow ? Or, hast thou 
seen the treasures of the hail ? 

23. Which I have reserved against 
the time of trouble, against the day 
of battle and war ? 

12. Is it thou who, in opening 
thine eyes to the light, hast given 
commandment to the dawning of the 
day to appear, and hast shewn to 
Aurora the place where she ought to 
arise ? 

13. Is it thou who, holding m thy 
hands the extremities of the Earth , 
hast convulsed it, and shaken the 
wicked out of it ? 

14 A midtitude of minute monu- 
ments of this event shall remain im- 
pressed in the clay, and shall subsist 
as the memorials of that devastation. 

15. The light of the wicked shall 
be taken from them, and their lifted 
up ai*m shall be broken. 

16. Hast thou penetrated to the 
bottom of the Sea, and walked over 
the soiuxes which renovate the 
Abyss ? 

17. Have these gates of Death been 
opened to thee : and hast thou sur- 
veyed the dark disgorgings of the 
Depth ? 

18. Hast thou observed where the 
breadth of the Eai-th terminates ? If 
thou knowest all these these things, 
declare them unto Me. 

19. Tell me where the light inha- 
bits, and what is the place of dark- 

20. That thou mayest conduct each 
to it's destination, seeing thou know- 
est their habitation, and the way that 
leads to it. 

21. Didst thou know, as these 
tilings already existed, that thou 
thyself wert to be born ; and hadst 
then discovered the fleeting number 
of thy days ? 

22. 23. Hast thou, I say, entered 
into the treasui-es of the snow, and 
surveyed those tremendous reser- 
voirs of hail, which I have prepai-ed 
against the time of the adversary, and 
for the day of battle and war ? 

STUDY IV. 129 

The Reader, I flatter myself, will not be displeased at my 
having deviated somewhat from my subject, that I might ex- 
hibit to him the agreement between my hypothesis and the 
traditions of the Holy Scriptures ; and especially between it 
and those, though not free from obscurity, of a Book perhaps 
the most ancient that exists. Our most learned Theologians 
agree in thinking that Job wrote prior to Moses. Whether 
this be the case or not, surely no one ever painted Nature 
with greater sublimity. 

We may, farther, arrive at complete assurance of the gene- 
ral effect of the polar effusions on the Ocean, from the parti- 
cular effects of the icy effusions of the mountains on the lakes 
and rivers of the Continent. I shall here relate some exam- 
ples of these last ; for the human mind, from it's natural weak- 
ness, loves to particularize all the objects of it's studies. And 
this is the reason why it apprehends much more quickly the 
laws of Nature in small objects, than in those which are great. 

Addison^ in his remarks on Misson's Tour to Italy, page 
322, says, that there is in the lake of Geneva, in Summer, tow- 
ards evening, a kind of flux and re-flux, occasioned by the 
melting of the snows, which fall into it in greater quantities 
after noon than at other seasons of the day. He explains be- 
sides, with much clearness, as he generally does, from the 
alternate effusions of the ices on the mountains of Switzerland, 
the intermittence of certain fountains of that country, which flow 
only at particular hours of the day. 

If this digression were not already too long, I could demon- 
strate that there is no one fountain, nor lake, nor river, subject to 
a particular flux and reflux, but what is indebted for it to icy 
mountains, which supply it's sources. I shall subjoin but a very 
few words more respecting those of the Euripus ; the frequent 
and irregular movements of which so much embaiTassed the 
Philosophers of Antiquity, and which may be so easily ex- 
plained from the icy effusions of the neighbouring mountains. 

The Euripus, it is well known, is a strait of the Archipelago 
which separates the ancient Beotia from the island of Eubea, 
now Negropont. About the middle of this strait, where it is 
narrowest, the water is knoAvn to flow, sometimes to the North, 
sometimes to the South, ten, twelve, fourteen times a day, with 

Vol. I. R 


the rapidity of a torrent. These multiplied, and very frequently 
unequal movements, cannot possibly be referred to the tides of 
the Ocean, which are scarcely perceptible in the Mediterranean. 
A Jesuit, quoted by Span* endeavours to reconcile these to 
the phases of the Moon ; but supposing the table of them, whicli 
he produces, to be accurate, their regularity and irregularity 
will always remain a difficulty of no easy solution. He refutes 
Seneca^ the Tragic Poet, who ascribes to the Euripus but seven 
fluxes in the day time only : 

Dum lassa Titan mergat Oceano juga. 

Till Titan's tired steeds in th' Ocean plunge. 

He adds farther, I know not after whom, that in the Sea of 
Persia the flux never takes place but in the night-time ; and 
that under the Arctic Pole, on the contrary, it is perceptible 
twice in the day-time, without being ever observed in the night. 
It is not so, says he, with the Euripus. 

I shall observe, by the way, that his remark with respect to 
the pole, supposing it true, evinces that it's two diurnal fluxes 
are the eff"ects of the Sun, who acts only during the day on the 
two icy extremities of the Continents of the New World, and 
of the Old. As to the Euripus, the variety, the number, and the 
rapidity of it's fluxes, prove that they have their origin in like 
manner in icy mountains, situated at different distances, and under 
different aspects of the Sun. For, according to that same Jesuit, 
the island ofEubea, which is on one side of the strait, contains 
mountains covered with snow for six months of the year ; and 
we know equally well that Beotia, which is on the other side, 
contains several mountains of an equal elevation, and even some 
which are crowned with ice all the year round, such as Mount 
Oeta. If these fluxes and refluxes of the Euripus take place 
as frequently in Winter, which is not affirmed, the cause of them 
must be ascribed to the rains which fall at that season of the 
year on the summits of these lofty collateral moimtains. 

I shall enable the Reader to form an idea of these not very 
apparent causes of the movements of the Euripus, by here trans- 
cribing what Span relates in another place,f of the Lake of Li- 

* Voyage to Greece and the Levant, by Spon, vol. ii. page 340. 
t Voyage to Greece and the Levant, by Spo7i, vol. ii. pages 88 and 89. 

STUDY IV. 131 

vidia, or Copaide, Mhich is in it's vicinity. This lake receives 
the first fluxes of the icy effusions of the mountains of Beotia, 
and communicates them undoubtedly to the Euripus, through 
the mountain which separates them. " It receives," says he, 
" several small rivers, the Cephisus and others, which water 
" that beautiful plain, whose circumference is about fifteen 
*' leagues and abounds in com and pasture. Besides, it was for- 
" merly one of the most populous regions of Beotia, But the 
" water of this lake sometimes swells so violently by the rains 
" and melted snows, that it once inundated two hundred villa- 
" ges of the plain. It would even be capable of producing a re- 
" gular annual inundation, if Nature, assisted perhaps by Art,* 

* Sl)on undoubtedly did not consider what he was saying, when he sug- 
gested an idea of the possibility of Art assisting Nature in the construction 
of five subterranean canals, each ten miles long, through a solid rock. 
These subterranean canals are frequently met with in mountainous countries, 
of which I could produce a thousand instances. They contribute to the 
circulation of waters, which could not otherwise force a passage through 
extended chains of mountains. Nature pierces the rocks, and sends rivers 
through tlie apertures, just as she has pierced several of the bones of the 
human body, for the purpose of transmitting certain veins. I leave to the 
Reader the prosecution of this new idea. I have said enough to convince 
him that this Globe is not the production of disorder or chance. 

I shall conclude these observations with a reflection respecting the two 
Travellers whom 1 have been quoting : it may perhaps have a good moral 
effect. Spoil was a Frenchman, and George IVJieeler English. They travel- 
led in company over the Archipelago. The former brought home with him 
a great collection of Greek inscriptions and epitaphs ; and the literati of tlie 
last age cried him up highly. The other has given us the names and charac- 
ters of a great many very curious plants which grow on the ruins of Greece, 
and which, in my opinion, convey a very affecting intei'cst into his relations. 
He IS little known among us. 

According to the descriptive titles which each of these Gentlemen assumed, 
Jacob Span was a Physician associate of Lyons, and an eager investigator of 
the monuments of men. George Wheeler was a Country Gentleman, and 
enthusiastically attached to those of Nature. Their tastes, to judge from 
situations, ought to have been reversed ; and that the Gentlemtui should 
have been fond of monumental inscriptions, and the Physician of plants ; but, 
us we shall have occasion to observe in the sequel of these Studies, our 
passions spring out of contrarieties, and are almost always in opposition to 
our conditions. It was from an effect of this harmonic law of Nature that, 
though these travellers were, the one English, and the other French, they 
lived in tlie most perfect union. I remark, to their honour, that they quote 
eacli other in terms of tlie highest respect and approbation. 

Ministers of State, would ye form Societies which shall be cordially united 
among themselves, do not assort Academicians with Academiciansj Soldiers 


" had not contrived for it an outlet, by five great canals, under 
" the adjacent mountain of the Euripus, between Negropont 
" and Talanda, through which the water of the lake is gulped up, 
" and throws itself into the Sea on the opposite side of the moun- 
" tain. The Greeks call this place Catabathra : (the whirlpools.) 
" Strabo, speaking of this lake, says, nevertheless, that there 
" appeared no outlet in his time, unless it be that the Cephisus 
*' sometimes forced a passage under ground. But it is only ne- 
" cessar>' to read the account which he gives of the changes that 
" take place in this morass, not to be surprised at what he has 
" affirmed of it's outlets. Mr. Wheeler^ who went to examine 
" this spot after my departure from Greece, says it is one of the 
" greatest curiosities in the country, the mountain being near ten 
" miles broad, and almost entirely one mass of solid rock." 

I have no doubt that several objections maybe started against 
the hasty explanation which has been given of the course of the 
Tides, of the Earth's motion in the Ecliptic, and of the Univer- 
sal Deluge, occasioned by the effusions of the polar ices ; but, I 
have the courage to repeat it, these physical causes present 
themselves with a higher degree of probability, of simplicity, 
and of conformity to the general progress of Nature, than the 
astronomical causes, so far beyond our reach, by which attempts 
have been made to explain them. It belongs to the impartial 
Reader to decide. If he is on his guard against the novelty of 
systems, which are not yet supported by puffers, he ought to be 
no less so against the antiquity of those which have many such 

Let us now return to the form of the great bason of the 
Ocean. Two principal Currents cross it from East to West, 
and from North to South. The first, coming from the South 
Pole, puts in motion the Seas of India, and, directed along the 
eastern extent of the Old Continent, runs from East to West, 
and from West to East, in the course of the same year, forming 
in the Indian Ocean what are called the Monsoons. This we 
have already remarked ; but what has not been hitherto brought 

w ith Soldiers, Merchants with Merchants, Monks with Monks, but associate 
Men of opposite conditions, and you will behold harmony pervade tlie asso- 
ciation ; provided, however, that you exclude the ambitious, which is indeed 
no easy task, ambition being one of the first vices which our mode of edu- 
cation instils. 

STUDY IV. 138 

forward, though it well deserves to be so, is, that all the bays, 
creeks, and mediterraneans of southern Asia, such as the gulfs 
of Si am and Bengal, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and a great 
many others, are directed relatively to this Current, North and 
South, so as not to be stemmed by it. 

The second Current in like manner issuing from the North 
Pole, gives an opposite movement to our Ocean, and, inclosed 
between the Continent of America and ours, proceeds from 
North to South, and returns from South to North in the same 
year, forming, like that of India, real Monsoons, though not so 
carefully observed by Navigators. All the bays and mediter- 
raneans of Europe, as the Baltic, the Channel, the Bay of Bis- 
cay, the Mediterranean properly so called ; and all those on the 
eastern coast of America, as the Bay of Baffin, Hudson's- Bay, 
the Gulf of Mexico, as well as many others which might be 
mentioned, are directed, relatively to this Current, East and 
West ; or, to speak with more precision, the axes of all the 
openings of the Land in the Old and New Worlds, are perpen- 
dicular to the axes of those general Currents, so that their mouth 
only is crossed by them, and their depth is not exposed to the 
impulsions of the general movements of the Ocean. 

It is because of the calmness of baj-s, that so many vessels 
run thither in quest of anchoring ground ; and it is for this rea- 
son that Nature has placed in their bottoms the mouths of most 
rivers, as we before observed, that their waters might be dis- 
charged into the Ocean, without being driven furiously back by 
the direction of it's Currents. She has employed similar pre- 
cautions for the security of even the smallest streams which 
empty themselves into the Sea. There is not a single experien- 
ced seaman who does not know that there is scarcely a creek but 
what has it's little rivulet. But for the Wisdom apparent in 
these dispositions, the streams destined to water the Earth must 
frequently have deluged it. 

Nature employs still other means for securing the course of 
rivers, and especiallj' for protecting their discharges into the 
Sea. The chief of these are islands. Islands present to the 
rivers channels of different directions, that if the Winds or the 
Currents of the Ocean should block up one of their outlets, tht 
waters might have a free passage through another. It may be 
remarked, that she has multiplied islands at the mouths of rivers 


the most exposed to this two-fold inconveniency ; such as, lor 
example, at that of the Amazon, which is for ever attacked by 
the East wind, and situated on one of the most prominent parts 
of America. There they are so many in number, and form 
with each other channels of such different courses, that oJie out- 
let points North-east, and another South-east, and from the first 
to the last tlie distance is upward of a hundred leagues. 

Fluviatic islands are not formed, as has been currently be- 
lieved, of solid substances washed down by rivers, and aggre- 
gated : they are, on the contrary, for the most part, very much 
elevated above the level of these rivers, and many of them con- 
tain rivers and mountains of their own. Such elevated islands 
are, besides, frequently found at the confluence of a smaller and 
a greater river. They serve to facilitate their communication, 
and to open a double passage to the current of the smaller river. 
As often then as you see islands in the channel of a great river, 
you may be assured there is some lateral inferior river or rivu- 
let in the vicinity. 

There are in truth many of these confluent rivulets which 
have been dried up by the ill-advised labours of men, but you 
will always find opposite to the islands which divided their 
confluence a correspondent valley, in which you may trace their 
ancient channel. There are likewise some of these islands in 
the midst of the course of rivers, in places exposed to the winds. 
I shall observe by die way, that we recede very widely from the 
intentions of Nature, in re-uniting the islands of a river to the 
adjoining Continent; for it's waters, in this case, flow in only 
one single channel, and when the, winds happen to blow in op- 
position to the current, they can escape neither to the right nor 
to the left ; they swell, they overflow, inundate the plains, carry 
uway the bridges, and occasion nnost of the ravages which in 
modern times so frequently endamage our cities. 

We do not then find bays or gulfs at the extremities of the 
Currents of the Ocean ; but, on the contrary, islands. At the 
extremity of the great Current of the Indian Ocean is placed 
the Island of Madag-ascar, which protects Africa against it's 
violence. The islands of the Terra-del-Fuego defend in like 
manner the southern extremity of America, at the confluence 
of the eastern and western Currents of the South Seas. The 
numerous ai'chipelagos of the Indian Ocean and of the South 

STUDY IV. 135 

Sea are situated about the Line, where the two general Currents 
of the North and South Seas meet. 

With Islands too it is that Nature protects the inlets of bays 
and mediterraneans. Great Britain and Ireland cover that of 
the Bakic; the islands of Welcome and Good-fortune cover 
Hudson's-Bay ; the island of St. Lawrence protects the entrance 
of the gulf which bears that name ; the chain of the Antilles, 
the gulf of Mexico; the isles of Japan, the double gulf formed 
by the peninsula of Goree with the country adjacent. All cur- 
rents bear upon islands. Most of these are for this reason 
noted from their prodigious swells, and their gusts of wind ; 
such are the Azores, the Bermudas, the island of Tristan, of 
Acunhah, and others. Not that they contain within themselves 
the causes of such phenomena, but from their being placed in 
the focuses of the revolutions of the Ocean, and even of the At- 
mosphere, for the purpose of weakening their effects. They 
are in positions nearly similar to those of Capes, which are all 
celebrated for the violent tempests which beat upon them: as 
Cape Finisterre, at the extremity of Europe; the Cape of 
Good Hope, at that of Africa; and Cape Horn, at that of Ame- 
rica. Hence comes the sea proverb to double the Cape^ to ex- 
press the surmounting of some great difficulty. The Ocean 
accordingly, instead of bearing upon the retiring parts of the 
Continent, sets in upon those which are most prominent ; and it 
must speedily have destroyed these had not Nature fortified 
them in a most wonderful manner. 

The western coast of Africa is defended by a long bank of 
sand, on which the billows of the Atlantic Ocean :u-e continually 
breaking. Brasil, in the whole extent of it's shores, opposes to 
the winds which blow continually from the East, and to the 
Currents of the Sea, a prodigious rampart of rocks, more than 
a tliousand leagues long, twenty paces broad at the summit, and 
of an unknown thickness at the base. It is a musket-shot dis- 
tant from the beach. It is entirely covered at high-water, and 
on the retreating of the tide, it exhibits the elevation of a peak. 
This enormous dike is composed of one solid mass lengthwise, 
as has been ascertained by repeated borings ; and it would be 
impossible for a vessel to get into Brasil, were it not for tlie 
several inlets which Nature has formed.* 

• Sec History of tlie Troubles ofUrasil, by Pctdv Moreau. 


Go from South to North, and you find similar precautions 
employed. The coast of Norway is provided with a bulwark 
nearly resembling that of Brasil. Pont Oppidan tells us that this 
coast, which is nearly three hundred leagues in length, is for 
the most part steep, angular, and pendant ; so that the Sea in 
many places presents a depth of no less than three hundred fa- 
thoms close in-shore. This has not prevented Nature from 
protecting these coasts by a multitude of isles, great and small. 
" By such a rampart," says that Author, " consisting of perhaps 
" a million or more of massy stone pillars, founded in the very 
" depth of the Sea, the chapiters of which rise only a few fa- 
" thoms above the surface, all Norway is defended to the West, 
" equally against the enemy and against the Ocean." There 
are, however, some coast harbours behind this species of sea- 
bulwark, of a construction so wonderful. But as there is fre- 
quently great danger, adds he, of ships being driven ashore be- 
fore they can get into port, from the winds and currents which 
are very violent in the straits of these rocks and isles, and from 
the difficulty of anchoring in such a vast depth of water, Go- 
vernment has been at the expense of fastening several hundreds 
of strong iron rings in the rock, more than two fathoms above 
water, by which vessels may be safely moored. 

Nature has infinitely varied these means of protection, espe- 
cially in the islands themselves which protect the Continent. 
She has, for example, surrounded the Isle of France Avith a 
bank of madrepores, which opens only at the places where the 
rivers of that island empty themselves into the Sea. Other 
islands, several of the Antilles in particular, were defended by 
forests of mangliers which grow in the sea-water, and break 
the violence of the waves, by yielding to their motion. To the 
destruction perhaps of these vegetable fortifications, we ought to 
ascribe the irruptions of the Sea, nov/ so frequent in several 
islands, particularly that of Formosa. There are others whicli 
consist of pure rock, rising out of the bosom of the waves, like 
huge moles ; such is the Maritimo, in the Mediterranean. 
Others are volcanic, as the Isle of Fuego, one of the Cape de 
Verd islands, and several others of the same description in the 
South Sea, which rise like pyramids with fiery summits, and 
answer the purpose of light-houses to mariners, by their flame 
in the night-time, and their smoke by day. 

STUDY IV. 137 

The Maldivia islands are defended against the Ocean by 
precautions the most astonishing. In truth, they are more ex- 
posed than many others, being situated in the very midst of 
that great Current of the Indian Ocean of which mention has 
been already made, and which passes and repasses them twice 
a year. They are besides so low, as hardly to rise above the 
level of the water ; and they are so small, and so numerous, 
that they have been computed at twelve thousand, and several 
are so near to each other, that it is possible to leap over the 
channel which divides them. Nature has first collected them 
into clusters, or archipelagos, separated from each other by 
deep channels which go from East to West, and which present 
various passages to the general Current of the Indian Ocean. 
These clusters are thirteen in number, and extend in a row from 
the eighth degree of northern to the fourth degree of southern 
Latitude, which gives them a length of three hundred of our 
leagues of 25 to a degree. 

But let us permit the interesting and unfortunate Francis 
Pyrard^ who there passed the flower of his days in a state of 
slaver^', to describe the architecture of them ; for he has left us 
the best description which we h^ve of those islands, as if it 
were necessary that in every case things the most worthy of the 
esteem of Mankind should be the fruit of some calamity. " It 
" is wonderful," says he, " to behold each of these clusters en- 
" compassed round and round with a great bulwark of stone, 
" such as no human art can pretend to equal in securing a spot 
" of ground within walls. * These clusters are all roundish or 
" oval, and are about thirty leagues each in circumference, some 
" a veiy little more, others a very litde less, and are all in a se- 
" ries, and end to end, without any contact whatever. There 
*' are between every two channels of the Sea, some broad, others 
" very narrow. When you are in the centre of a cluster, you 
" see all around that great bulwark of stone, which as I have 
*' said encompasses it, and defends the isles against the impe- 
" tuosily of the Ocean. But it is truly frightful, even to the 
" boldest, to approach this bulwark, and to behold the billows 
" coming from afar, ready to burst with fury on every side: 
" for then, I assure you, as a thing I have seen a thousand 

* V'o\ag'c to the Maldivias, chap, x 
Vol. I. S 


" and a thousand times, the perturbation or bubbling over ex- 
" ceeds the size of a house, and it is whiter than a fleece of 
" cotton : so that you seem surrounded with a wall of brilliant 
" whiteness, especially when Ocean is in his majesty." 

Pyrcird farther observes, that most of the isles, inclosed in 
these subdivisions, are surrounded each in particular by a par- 
ticular bank, which farther defends them against the Sea. But 
the Current of the Indian Ocean, which passes through the 
parallel channels of these clusters of islands, is so violent, that 
it would be impossible for Mankind to keep up a communica- 
tion between one and another, had not Nature arranged all this 
in her own wonderful manner. She has divided each of these 
clusters by two particular channels, which intersect them diago- 
nally, and whose extremities exactly terminate at the extremi- 
ties of the great parallel channels which separate them. So 
that if you wish to pass from one of these archipelagos to ano- 
ther, when the current is easterly, you take your departure from 
that where you happen to be, by the diagonal canal of the East, 
where the water is calm, and committing yourself afterward to 
the current which passes through the parallel channel, you pro- 
ceed in a deflecting course to land on the opposite cluster, into 
which you enter by the opening of it's diagonal channel, which 
is to the West. The mode of proceeding is reversed, when 
the current changes six months afterwards. Through these in- 
terior communications the islanders at all seasons can make ex- 
cursions from isle to isle, the whole length of the chain from 
North to South, notwithstanding the violence of the currents 
which separate them. 

Every isle has it's proper fortification, proportioned, if I may 
say so, to the danger to which it is exposed from the billows of 
the Ocean. It is not necessary to suppose the water roused into 
a tempest, in order to form an idea of their fury. The simple 
action of the trade-winds, however uniform, is sufficient to give 
them unremittingly the most violent impulsion. Each of these 
billows joining to the constant velocity impressed upon it every 
instant by the wind an acquired velocity from it's particular 
movement would form, after running through a considerable 
space, an enormous mass of water, were not it's course retarded 
by the currents which cross it, by the calgis which slacken it. 

STUDY IV. 139 

but above all, by the banks, the shallows, and the islands which 
break it. 

A very perceptible effect of this accelerated velocity of the 
waves is visible on the coasts of Chili and Peru, which under- 
go, however, only the simple concussion and repercussion of the 
waters of the South-Sea. The shores are inaccessible through 
their whole extent, unless at the bottom of some bay, or under 
the shelter of some island situated near the coast. All the 
islands of that vast ocean, so peacefid as to have obtained the 
distinctive appellation of Pacific, are unapproachable on the side 
which is exposed to the Currents occasioned by the Trade-winds 
only, unless where shelves or rocks break the impetuosity of the 
billows. In that case, it is a spectacle at once magnificent and 
tremendous, to behold the vast fleeces of foam which inces- 
santly rise from the bosom of their dark and rugged windings ; 
and to hear their hoarse roaring noise, especially in the night- 
time, carried by the winds to several leagues distance. 

Islands then are not fragments separated by violence from 
the Continents. Their position in the Ocean, the manner in 
which they are defended, and the length of their duration, 
constitute a complete demonstration of this. Considering how 
long the Sea has been battel hig them with it's utmost furj', 
they must have been by this time reduced to a state of total 
ruin. Scylla and Carybdis, nevertheless, emit to this day their 
ancient roarings, so as to be heard at the extremities of Sicily. 

This is not the proper place to indicate the means which Na- 
ture employs to preserve the islands, and to repair them ; nor to 
adduce the other proofs from the vegetable and animal king- 
doms, and from Man, which evince that they have existed, such 
as we now see them, from the very origin of the Globe : it will 
be sufficient for me to give an idea of their construction, in or- 
der to produce perfect conviction in every candid mind that 
they are in no one respect the work of chance. They contain 
as Continents themselves do, mountains, peaks, rivers and lakes, 
proportioned to their magnitude. For the purpose of demon- 
strating this new truth, I shall be still under the necessity' of 
saying somewhat respecting the distribution of the Globe ; but 
I shall not be long, and shall endeavour to introduce nothing 
but what is absolutely needful to make myself understood. 


It is first to be remarked, that the chains of mountains in botli 
Continents, are parallel to the Seas which wash their coasts : so 
that if you see the plan of one of those chains with it's different 
branches, you are able to determine the shore of the Sea which 
corresponds to them ; for, as I have just said, the mountains 
and these are always parallel. You may in like manner, on 
seeing the sinuosities of a shore, determine those of the chains 
of mountains which are in the interior of a country ; for the 
gulfs of a Sea always correspond to the valleys of the moun- 
tains of the lateral Continent. 

These correspondencies are perceptible in the two great 
chains of the Old and of the New Worlds. The long chain of 
Taurus runs East and West, as does the Indian Ocean, the dif- 
ferent gulfs of which it incloses by branches prolonged as far as 
to the extremities of most of their Capes. On the contrary, 
the chain of the Andes in America runs North and South, like 
the Atlantic Ocean. There is besides another thing worthy 
of remark, nay, I venture to say, of admiration, it is that these 
chains of mountains are opposed to the regular winds which 
cross those Seas, and which convey the emanations from them ; 
and that their elevation is proportioned to the distance at which 
they are placed from such shores : so that the farther they are 
removed from the Sea, the greater is their elevation into the 

For this reason it is that the chain of the Andes is placed 
along the South Sea, where it receives the emanations of the 
Atlantic Ocean, wafted by the East wind over the vast Conti- 
nent of America. The broader that Continent becomes, the 
greater is the elevation of that chain. Toward the isthmvis of 
Panama, where the Continent has no great breadth, and conse- 
quently the distance from the Sea is small, the elevation of the 
mountains is inconsiderable : but they suddenly rise, precisely 
in proportion as the American Continent widens. It's highest 
mountains look over the broadest expansion of America, and 
are situated in the Latitude of Cape St. Augustin. 

The situation and the elevation of this chain were equally 
necessarj'^ to the fertility of this grand division of the New 
World. For if this chain, instead of extending lengthwise by 
the coast of the South Sea, had extended along the coasts of 
Brasil, it would have intercepted all the vapours conveyed over 

STUDY IV. 141 

the Continent by the East wind ; and if it were not elevated to 
a region of the Atmosphere, to which no vapour could ascend, 
because of the subtility of the air, and of the intenseness of the 
cold, all the clouds borne by the East wind would be carried 
beyond it into the South Sea. On either of these two supposi- 
tions, most of the rivers of South America would be dried up. 

The same reasoning may be applied to the chain of Taurus. 
It presents to the Northern and Indian Oceans a double ridge, 
with opposite aspects, from which flow most of the rivers of the 
ancient Continent, some to the North and others to the South. 
It's branches are disposed in like manner : they do not coast 
along the peninsulas of India, by their shores ; but cross them 
through the middle at their full length ; for the winds of those 
Seas do not blow always from one and the same quarter, as the 
East wind in the Atlantic Ocean ; but six months in one direc- 
tion, and six months in another. It was proper accordingly to 
divide to them the land which they were intended to water. 

It remains that I subjoin some farther observations respecting 
the configuration of those mountains, to confirm the use to 
which they are destined by Nature. They are crowned from 
distance to distance by long peaks similar to lofty p)Tamids. 
1'hese peaks, as has been well observed, are of granite, at least 
most of them. I do not know the component parts of granite ; 
but I know well that these peaks attract the vapours of the At- 
mosphere, and fix them around in such a quantity, that they 
themselves frequently disappear. This is a remark which I have 
made times without number, with respect to the peak of Piter- 
both, in the Isle of France, where I have seen the clouds driv- 
ing before the South-east wind, turn aside perceptibly from theii 
direction, and gather round it, so as sometimes to form a ver\ 
thick cap, which rendered the summit totally invisible. 

I had the curiosity to examine the nature of the rock of which 
it is composed. Instead of being formed of grains, it is full oi 
small holes, like the other rocks of the island ; it melts in the 
fire, and when melted, you may perceive on it's surface small 
grains of copper. It is impossible to doubt tliat it must be 
impregnated with that metal ; and to the copper we must per- 
haps ascribe the virtue which it possesses of attracting the 
clouds. For it is known by experience that this metal, as well 
as iron, has the property of attracting thunder. I do not know 


of what materials other peaks are composed ; but it is remark- 
able, that at the summit of the Andes, and on their ridges, are 
found the gold and silver mines of Chili and Peru, and that in 
general all mines of iron and copper are found at the source of 
rivers, and in elevated situations, where they discover them- 
selves by the fogs which surround them. Whatever may be in 
this, whether this attractive quality be common to granite, and 
to rocks of a different nature, or whether it depends on some 
metal which is amalgamated with them, I consider all the peaks 
in the world as real electric needles. 

But it was not sufficient that clouds should collect and fix on 
the tops of mountains, the rivers which have their sources there 
could have only an intermittent course. As soon as the rainy 
season was at an end, the rivers must have ceased to flow. 
Nature, in order to remedy this inconveniency, has contrived, 
in the vicinity of their peaks, lakes, which are real reservoirs, 
or cisterns of water, to furnish a regular and constant supply 
to their expenditure. Most of those lakes are of an incredible 
depth ; they answer several other purposes, such as that of re- 
receiving the melted snows of the mountains, which would 
otherwise floAV with too great rapidity. When they are once 
full, it requires a very considerable time to exhaust them. They 
exist, either internally or externally, at the source of all regular 
currents of water ; but when they are external, they are pro- 
portioned, either by their extent, or by their depth and their 
discharges, to the size of the river which they are designed to 
emit, as well as the peaks which are in the vicinity. These 
correspondencies must have undoubtedly been known to anti- 
quity ; for I think I have seen some very ancient medals, in 
Avhich rivers were represented by figures leaning on an urn, and 
stretched along at the basis of a pyramid ; which was probably 
designed to denote at once their source and their discharge. 

If then we come to apply these general dispositions of Nature 
to the particular conformation of islands, we shall see that they 
have, like Continents, mountains with branches parallel to their 
bays ; that these mountains are of an elevation corresponding to 
their distance from the Sea ; and that they contain peaks, lakes, 
and rivers, proportional to the extent of their territory. Like 
Continents too they have their mountains, disposed in a suita- 
bleness to the winds which blow over the Seas whereby they 

STUDY IV. 143 

are surrounded. Those which are in the Indian Ocean, as the 
Moluccas, have their mountains toward the centre ; so as to 
receive the alternate influence of the two atmospheric Monsoons. 
Those, on the contrary, which are under the regular influence 
of the East winds, in the Atlantic Ocean, as the Antilles, 
have their mountains thrown to the extremity of the island 
which is under the wind, precisely as the Andes with respect 
to South America. The part of the island that is toward the 
wind is, in the Antilles, called cabsterre^ as who should say 
caput terra (the head of the land) ; and that which is from the 
wind basseterre (low land) ; though, for the most part, says 
Father du Tcrre^* this last is higher and more mountainous 
than the other. 

The island of Juan Fernandez, which is in the South Sea, 
but very far beyond the Tropics, being in 33 deg. 40 min. of 
South Latitude, has it's northern part formed of rocks very- 
lofty and very steep, and it's South side flat and low, to receive 
the influences of the South wind, which blows there almost all 
the year round. The description of it is to be found in Ansoi^s 
Voyage round the World. 

The islands which deviate from these dispositions, and which 
are but few in number, have remote relations still more won- 
derful, and certainly well worthy of being studied. They fur- 
nish besides in their vegetable and animal productions, other 
proofs that they are small Continents in miniature. But this 
is not the place to bring them forward. If they were, as is 
pretended, the remains of a great continent swallowed up by 
the Ocean, they would have preserved part at least of their anci- 
ent and vast fabric. We should see arise immediately out of the 
middle of the Sea lofty peaks, like those of the Andes, from twelve 
to fifteen hundred fathom high, without the mountains which 
support them. In other places, we should see these peaks sup- 
ported by enormous mountains, proportioned to their magnitude, 
and which should contain in their cavities great lakes, like that 
of Geneva, with rivers issuing from them, such as the Rhone, 
and precipitating themselves at once into the Sea, without 
watering any land. There should be at the bottom of their 
majestic protuberances no plains, nor provinces, nor kingdoms. 

• Natural History of the Antilles, p. 12. 


These grand ruins of the Continent, in the midst of the Ocean, 
would have some resemblance to those enormous pyramids 
reared in the sands of Egjpt, which present to the eye of the 
traveller only so many frivolous and unmeaning structures ; or 
to those vast royal palaces which the hand of time has demo- 
lished, of which you perceive turrets, columns, triumphal 
arches j but the habitable parts of which are entirely destroyed. 
The sage productions of Nature are not useless and transitory, 
like the works of Men. Every Island has it's champaign coun- 
try, it's valleys, it's hills, it's hydraulic pyramids, and it's 
Naiads, in proportion to it's extent. 

Some islands, it is true, but they are very few, contain moun- 
tains more elevated than the extent of their territory may seem 
to require. Such is that of Teneriff : it's peak is so high, as to 
be covered with ice a great part of the year. But that island 
contains mountains of no great elevation, which are proportion- 
ed to it's bays : that of the mountains which support the peak, 
swells up amidst the others in form of a dome, not unlike the 
dome of the Invalids rising above the adjacent buildings. I 
myself observed it with particular attention, and made a draw- 
ing of it on my way to the Isle of France. The lower moun- 
tains are an appertenance to the island, and the peak to Africa. 

This peak, covered with ice, is situated directly opposite to 
the entrance of the great sandy desart, called Zara, and contri- 
butes undoubtedly to refresh the shores and Atmosphere of it, 
by the effusion of it's snows, which takes place in the midst of 
Summer. Nature has placed other glaciers besides at the en- 
trance of this burning desart, such as Mount Atlas. Mount 
Ida, in the island of Crete, with it's collateral mountains, cover- 
ed at all seasons with snow, is situated, according to the obser- 
vation of Tournefort, precisely opposite to the burning desart of 
Barca, which coasts along Egypt from North to South. These 
observations will furnish a farther opportunity of making some 
reflections on the chains of icy mountains, and of the Zones of 
sand scattered over the Globe. 

I ought to beg forgiveness of the Reader for these digres- 
sions, into which I have been insensibly drawn ; but I will render 
them as short as I possibly can, though by abridging them their 
clearness is considerably diminished. 

STUDY IV. 145 

The icy mountains appear to be principally designed to con- 
vey coolness to the shores of the Seas situated between the tro- 
pics ; and the Zones of sand, on the contrar}', to accelerate by 
their heat the fusion of the polar ices. We can indicate, only 
in a cursory manner, those most wonderful harmonies ; but it is 
sufficient to peruse the journals of Navigators, and to study 
geographical charts, to be convinced that the principal part of 
the Continent of Africa is situated in such a manner, that it is 
the wind of the North Pole which blows most constantly on it's 
coasts ; and that the shore of South America projects beyond 
the Line, so as to be cooled by the wind of the South Pole. 
The Trade-winds, which prevail in the Atlantic Ocean, always 
participate of the influence of both Poles ; that which is on our 
side draws considerably toward the North ; and that which is 
beyond the Line depends gi-eatly on the South Pole. These 
two winds are not oriental, as has been erroneously imagined, 
but they blow nearly in the directions of the channel which sepa- 
rates America from Africa. 

The warm winds of the torrid Zone, blow, in their turn, the 
most constantly toward the Poles ; and it is singularly remarka- 
ble, that as Nature has placed icy mountains in it's vicinity to 
cool its Seas, conjointly with those of the Poles, as Taurus, 
Atlas, the Peak of TenerifF, Mount Ida, and others ; she has 
likewise extended a long Zone of sand, in order to increase the 
heat of the South wind on it's way to warm the Seas of the 
North. This Zone commences beyond Mount Atlas, and en- 
compasses the Earth like a Belt, extending from the most wes- 
terly point of Africa to the most easterly extremity of Asia, in 
a reduced distance of more than three thousand leagues. Som^ 
branches of it deviate from the general direction, and advance 
directly toward the North. 

We have already remarked that a region all sand is so hot 
even in our Climates, from the multiplied reflection of it's bril- 
liant particles, that we never find the snow covering it for any 
considerable time together, even in the middle of our severest 
Winters. Those who have crossed the sands of Estampes in 
Summer, and in the heat of the day, know well to what a violent 
degree the heat is there reverberated. It is so ardent certain 
days in Summer, that about twenty years ago four or five pa- 
viors, who were at work on the great road leading to that City 

Vol. I. T 


between Uvo banks of white sand, were suffocated by it. Hence 
it may be concluded from facts so obvious, that but for the ices 
of the Pole, and of the mountains in the vicinity of the torrid 
Zone, a very considerable portion of Africa and Asia would be 
absolutely uninhabitable, and that but for the sands of Africa 
and Asia, the ices of our Pole would never melt. 

Every icy mountain, too, has, like the Poles, its sandy girdle, 
which accelerates the fusion of it's snows. This we have occa- 
sion to remark, in the description of all mountains of this species, 
as of the Peak of Teneriff, of Mount Ararat, of the CordeUers, 
and the like. These Zones of sand surround not only their 
bases, but there are some of them on the higher regions of the 
mountains, up to the very peaks ; it frequently requires several 
hours walking to get across them. 

The sandy belts have a still farther use, that of contributing 
to the repair of the waste, which the territory of the mountain 
from time to time undergoes : perpetual clouds of dust issue 
from them, which rise in the first instance on the shores of the 
Sea, where the Ocean forms the first deposits of these sands, 
which are there reduced to an impalpable powder by the inces- 
sant dashing of the Avaves upon them ; we afterwards find these 
clouds of dust in the vicinity of lofty mountains. The convey- 
ance of the sands is made from the shores of the Sea into the 
interior of the Continent at different seasons, and in various 
manners. The most considerable happens at the Equinoxes, 
for then the Winds blow from the Sea into the Land. See what 
Corneille le Bruyn says of a sandy tempest, in which he was 
caught on the shore of the Caspian Sea. These periodical con- 
veyances of the sand form a part of the general revolutions of 
the Seas. But as to the interior of different countries, partial 
transits take place every day, which are very perceptible toward 
the more elevated regions of the Continents. 

All travellers who have been at Pekin are agreed, that it is 
not possible to go abroad during a part of the year into the 
streets of that City without having the face covered with a veil, 
on account of the sand with which the air is loaded. 

When hbrand-Ides arrived on the frontiers of China, at the 
extremity of the outlet of the mountains in the neighbourhood 
of Xaixigar, that is, at that part of the crest of the Asiatic Con- 
tinent which is the most elevated, from which the rivers begin 

STUDY IV. 147 

their courses, some to the North, others to the South, he ob- 
served a regular period of these emanations. " Every day," 
says he,* " at noon regularly, there blows a strong gust of wind 
" for two hours together, which, joined to the sultry heat of the 
" Sun by day, parches the ground to such a degree, that it 
" raises a dust almost insupportable. I had observed this change 
" in the air some time before. About five miles above Xaixi- 
" gar, I had perceived the Heavens cloudy over the whole ex- 
" tent of the mountains ; and when I was on the point of leav- 
" ing them, I saw perfect serenity. I even remarked at the 
" place where they terminate an arch of clouds, which sweeped 
" from West to East, as far as the mountains of Albase, and 
" which seemed to form a separation of climate." Mountains 
accordingly possess at once nebulous and fossil attractions. The 
first furnish water to the sources of the rivers which issue from 
them, and the second supply them with sand, for keeping up 
their territory and their minerals. 

The icy and sandy Zones are found in a different harmony 
on the Continent of the New Worlrl. They run, like it's Seas, 
from North to South, whereas those of the Old Continent are 
directed, conformably to the lengthwise direction of the Indian 
Ocean, from West to East. 

It is very remarkable that the influence of icy mountains ex- 
tends farther over the Ocean than over the Land. We have 
seen those of the two Poles take the direction of the channel of 
the Atlantic Ocean. The snows which cover the long chain of 
the Andes in America, serve in like manner to cool the whole 
of the South Sea, by the action of the East-wind which passes 
over it ; but as part of that Sea, and of it's shores, which is shel- 
tered from this wind by the very height of the Andes, would 
have been exposed to an excessive heat, Nature has formed an 
elbow westward at the most southerly part of America, which 
is covered with icy mountains, so that the fresh breezes which 
perpetually issue from them may graze along the shores of 
Chili and Peru. These breezes, denominated the southerly, 
prevail there all the year round, if we may believe the testimony 
of every Navigator. They do not in truth come from the South 
Pole ; for if it were so, no vessel could ever double Cape Horn; 

• Journey from Moscow lo China, chap. xi. 


but they come from the extremity of Magellan's Land, which is 
evidently bent backward, with relation to the shores of the 
South Sea. 

The ices of the Poles then renovate the waters of the Sea, as 
the ices of mountains renovate those of the great rivers. These 
effusions of the polar ices press toward the Line, from the action 
of the Sun, Avho is incessantly pumping up the waters of the Sea 
in the torrid Zone, and determines, by this diminution of bulk, 
the waters of the Poles to rush thitherward. This is the first 
cause of the motion of the South Seas, as has been already ob- 
served. It would appear highly probable, that the polar effu- 
sions are proportioned to the evaporations of the Ocean. But 
■without losing sight of the leading object of our enquiry, we 
shall examine for what reason Nature has taken still greater care 
to cool the Seas, than the Land of the torrid Zone : for it merits 
attention, that not only the polar Winds which blow there, but 
most of the rivers which empty themselves into the South Seas, 
have their sources in icy mountains, such as the Zara, the Ama- 
zon, the Oroonoko, and others. 

The Sea Avas destined to receive, by means of the rivers, all 
the spoils of vegetable and animal productions over the whole 
Earth ; and as it's course is determined toward the Line, by the 
daily diminution of it's waters which the Sun is there continually 
evaporating, it's shores within the torrid Zone would have been 
quickly liable to putrefaction, had not Nature employed these 
different methods to keep them cool. It is for this reason, as 
certain Philosophers allege, that the Sea is salt betv/een the 
Tropics. But it is likewise so to the North ; nav, more so, if 
we may rely on the recent experiments of the interesting M. 
De Pages. It is the saltest, and the heaviest in the World, ac- 
cording to the testimony of an English Navigator, Captain 
Woody who wrote in 16/6. 

Besides the saltness of the Sea does not preser^^e it's waters 
from corruption, as is vulgarly believed. All who ha^'e been 
at Sea know well, that if a bottle or a cask is filled in hot cli- 
mates with sea-water, it soon becomes putrid. Sea-water is not a 
pickle ; it is, on the contraiy, a real lixivial, which very quickly 
dissolves dead bodies. Though salt to the taste, it takes out 
salt sooner than fresh water, as our common sailors know from 
daily experience, for they employ no other in freshening their 

STUDY IV. 149 

salt provisions. It blanches on the shore the bones of all animals, 
as well as the madrepores, which when in a state of life are 
brown, red, and of various other colours, but which being rooted 
up and put into sea-water on the brink of the shore, in a little 
time become as white as snow. Nay more, if you fish in the sea 
for a crab, or a sea-urchin, and have them dried to preserve 
them, unless you first wash them in fresh water, all the claws of 
the crab, and all the prickles of the urchin, will fall off. The 
joints by which the limbs are attached, dissolve in proportion as 
the sea-water with which they were moistened evaporates. I 
myself have made this experiment to my cost. The water of 
the Sea is impregnated not only with salt, but with bitumen, and 
other substances besides, which we do not know; but salt is in it 
in such a proportion, as to assist the dissolution of cadaverous 
bodies floating in it, as that which we mingle with our food as- 
sists digestion. Had nature made it a pickle, the Ocean would 
be covered with all the impurities of the Earth, which would 
thus be kept in a state of perpetual preservation. 

These observations would indicate to us the use of volcanos. 
They do not proceed from the internal fires of the Earth, but 
they derive their origin and materials which keep them up from 
the waters. In order to be convinced of this, you have only to 
remark that there is not a single volcano in the interior of Con- 
tinents, unler-s it be in the vicinity of some great lake, such as 
that of Mexico. They are situated for the most part in islands, 
at the extremity or at the confluence of the Currents of the Sea, 
and in the counter-tides of their waters. This is the reason 
why we find them in such numbers toward the Line, and along 
the shore of the South Sea, where the South-wind, which per- 
petually blows there, brings back all the substances swimming 
about in a state of dissolution. 

Another proof that they owe their support to the Sea is this, 
that in their eruptions they frequently vomit out torrents of salt 
water. Nexvton ascribed their origin and their duration to 
caverns of sulphur inclosed in the bowels of the Earth. But 
that great man had not reflected on the position of volcanos in 
the vicinity of water, nor calculated the prodigious quantity of 
sulphur which the magnitude and the duration of their fires must 
have required. Vesuvius alone, which burns night and day 
from time inimemorial, would have consumed a mass of it 


larger than the whole kingdom of Naples. Besides, Natui^ 
does nothing in vain. What pvirposc could be answered by 
such magazines of sulphur in the interior of the Earth ? We 
should find them completely entire in the places where they are 
not consumed by the fire. Mines of sulphur are no where found 
but in the vicinity of volcanos. What besides could renovate 
them when exhausted ? A supply so constant for keeping up 
volcanos is not in the Earth, but in the Sea. It is furnished by 
the oils, the bitumens, and the nitres of vegetables and animals, 
which the rains and the rivers convey off from every quarter 
into the Ocean, where the dissolution of all bodies is completed 
by it's iixivial water. To these are joined metallic dissolutions, 
and especially those of iron, which, as is well known, abounds 
all over the earth. Volcanos take fire, and feed themselves 
with all these substances. 

Lemery^ the Chymist, has imitated their effects, by a compo- 
sition consisting of filings of iron, sulphur, and nitre, moistened 
with water, which caught fire of itself. If Nature had not kin- 
dled these vast furnaces on the shores of the Ocean, it's waters 
would be covered with vegetable and animal oils, which would 
never evaporate, for they resist the action of the air. You may 
have frequently observed them, when stagnated in some undis- 
turbed bason, from their colour resembling the pigeon's neck. 
Nature purifies the waters by the fire of volcanos, r.s she purifies 
the air by those of thunder ; and as storms are more common 
in hot countries, she has in these likewise multiplied volcanos, 
and for the same reason. She burns on the shores the impuri- 
ties of the Sea, as a Gardener burns at the end of Autumn the 
refuse of his garden. 

We find lavas indeed in the interior of countries ; but a proof 
that they are indebted to the water for their original is this, that 
the volcanos which produced them became extinct whenever the 
waters failed them. These volcanos were kindled, like those 
which still subsist, by vegetable and animal fermentations with 
which the Earth M'as covered after the Deluge, when the spoils 
of so many forests, and of so many animals, whose trunks and 
bones are still found in our quarries, floated on the surface of 
the Ocean, and formed prodigious deposits, when the currents 
accumulated in .the cavities of the mountains. It cannot be 
doubted that in this state they caught fire by the effect of fer- 

STUDY IV. 151 

mentation merely, just as we see stacks of damp hay catch fire 
in our meadows. It is impossible to call in question these an- 
cient conflagrations, the traditions of which are preserved in 
Antiquity, and which immediately follow those of the Deluge. 
In the ancient Mythology, the history of the serpent Python, 
produced by the corruption of the waters, and that of Phaeton, 
who set the world on fire, immediately follow the history of 
Philemon and Baucis,* escaped from the waters of the Deluge, 
and are allegories of the pestilence, and of the volcanos, which 
were the first results of the general dissolution of animals and 

All that now remains is to refute the opinion of those who 
maintain that the Earth is a secretion from the Sun. The chief 
arguments by which they support it are it's volcanos, it's gra- 
nites, the vitrified stones scattered over it's surface, and it's pro- 
gressive refrigeration from year to year. I respect the cele- 
brated Author who has advanced this opinion, but I venture to 
affirm, that the grandeur of the images which this idea present- 
ed to him has seduced his imagination. 

We have said enough respecting volcanos, to demonstrate 
that they do not proceed from the interior of the Earth. As 
to granites, they do not present, in the aggregation of tjieir 
grains, the remotest vestige of the action of fire. I do not know 
their origin ; but certainly there is no foundation for refen-ing it 
to that element, because it cannot be ascribed to the action of 
water, and because shells are not found in them. As this as- 
sertion is destitute of all proof, it is unnecessary to undertake a 
refutation of it. I shall observe, however, that granites do not 
appear to be the production of fire, on a comparison with the 
lavas of volcanos ; the difference of their substances supposes 
different causes in their formation. 

Agates, flints, and every species of the silex, seem to be ana- 
logous to vitrifications, from their half-transparency, and from 
their being usually found in beds of marie, which resemble 
banks of lime extinguished ; but these substances are not the 
pi'oductions of fire, for lavas never present any thing similar. 
I have picked up on the flinty hills of Lower Normandy o\ster- 
shells perfectly complete, amalgamated with black flints, which 

• The Author undoubtedly means Deucalion and Pvn-ha 


they call bisets. Had these bisets been vitrified by fire, they 
would have calcined, or at least altered the oyster-shells whicli 
adhered to them; but these were as sound as if just taken out 
of the water. The shelving sea-coast along the district of Caux 
are formed of alternate strata of marie and bisets, so that as 
they are not cut perpendicularly, you would call it a great wall, 
of which the layers had been regulated by an Architect ; and 
with so much the greater appearance of probability, that the 
people of the country build their houses of the same materials, 
disposed in the self-same order. 

These banks of marie are from one to two feet broad, and 
the rows of flints which separate them are three or four inches 
thick. I have reckoned seventy or eighty of such horizontal 
strata from the level of the Sea up to that of the Land. The 
thickest are undermost, and the smaller a-top, which from the 
sea-mark makes the aggregate appear higher than it really is ; 
as if Nature intended to employ a certain degree of perspective 
to increase the apparent elevation: but undoubtedly she has 
been determined to adopt this arrangement from reasons of so- 
lidity, which are perceptible in all her Works. Now these 
banks of marie and flint are filled with shells, which have under- 
gone no alteration from the force of fire, and which would be in 
perfect preservation, had not the pressure of that enormous mass 
broken in pieces the largest of them. I have seen fragments 
extracted of that which is called the thuilee^ which is found 
alive only in the Indian Ocean, and the broken pieces of which 
when put together formed a shell much more considerable than 
those of the same species, which are used for holding the holy 
water in the church of Saint-Sulpice at Paris. 

I have likewise remarked there a bed of flints completely 
amalgamated, and forming a single table, the section of which 
was perceptibly about one inch thick by more than thirty feet 
in length. It's depth in the cliff I did not ascertain ; but with 
a little art it might be detached and fashioned into the most su- 
perb agate table in the world. Wherever these marles and 
flints are found, shells are likewise found in great quantities, so 
that as marie has been evidently formed of their wreck, it ap- 
pears to me extremely probable that the flints have been com- 
posed of the very substance of the fishes which were there in- 

STUDY IV. 153 

This opinion will appear less extraordinary^, if we obsierve 
that many of the comes d''ammon^ and of single-shelled fossils, 
which from their form have resisted the pressure of the ground, 
and not being compressed by it, have not ejected, like the double- 
shelled, the animal matter which they contained, but exhibit it 
within them under the form of cr^'stals, with which they are 
usually filled, whereas the two-shelled are totally destitute of it. 

The animal substances of these last, I presume, confounded 
with their crushed fragments, have formed the different coloured 
pastes of marble, and have communicated to them the hardness 
and polish of which these marbles are susceptible. This sub- 
stance presents itself even in shell-fish when alive, with the 
characters of agate, as may be seen in several kinds of mother- 
of-pearl, and among others, in the half transparent, and very 
hard knob, which terminates what is called the harpe* Finally, 
this stony substance is found besides in land animals j for I have 
seen in Silesia the eggs of a species of the woodcock, which are 
highly prized in that country, not only because they are a great 
delicacy for the table, but because the white when dried be- 
comes hard as a flint, and susceptible of a polish so beautiful, 
that they are cut and set as rings and other trinkets. 

I could easily swell this article, by demonstrating the geomet- 
rical impossibility that our Globe should have been detached 
from that of the Sun by the transit of a Comet, because it must 
have, on the very hypothesis of this impulsion, been hurried 
along in the sphere of the Comet's attraction, or carried back 
into that of the Sun. It has in truth remained in the sphere of 
the Sun's attraction ; but it is not easy to conceive how it never 
came to approach nearer, and how it comes to maintain the dis- 
tance of nearly thirty-two millions of leagues, while no Comet 
prevents it's returning to the place from which it set out. The 
Sun, it is said, has a centrifugal force. The Globe of the Earth, 
therefore, must be retiring from it. No, it is alleged, because 
the Earth has a constant tendency toward that Luminary. It 
must accordingly have lost the centrifugal force, which should 
adhere to it's very nature, as being a portioflfcf the Sun. 

I could go on to swell the article, by farther demonstrating the 
physical impossibility that the Earth should contain, in it's bow- 
els so many heterogeneous substances, on the supposition of it's 
being a separation from a body so homogeneous as the S(un; 

Vol. I. U 


and I could make it appear that it is impossible they should be 
in any respect considered as the wreck of solar and vitrified 
substances (if it be possible for us to have an idea of the sub- 
stances from which light issues), seeing some of our terrestrial 
Elements, such as Water and Fire, are absolutely incompatible. 
But I shall confine myself to the refrigeration ascribed to the 
Earth, because the evidence on which this opinion rests is level 
to the comprehension of all men, and is of importance to their 

If the Earth is getting colder and colder, the Sun, from which 
it is said to have been separated, must be getting cold in propor- 
tion ; and the mutual diminution of the heat in these two Globes 
must become perceptible in a course of ages, at least on the 
surface of the Earth, in the evaporations of the Seas, in the di- 
minution of rains, and especially in the successive destruction 
of a great number of plants, which are killed every day merely 
from the diminution of only a few degrees of heat, when the 
Climate is changed upon them. Not a single plant, however, 
has been lost of all those which were known to Circe, the most 
ancient of Botanists, whose herbal Homer has in some measure 
preserved for us. The plants celebrated in song by Orpheus, 
and their virtues, subsist to this day. There is not even a 
single one which has lost any thing of it's ancient attitude. 
The jealous Clytia still turns towards the Sun ; and the beauti- 
ful son of Liriope, Narcissus, continues to admire himself on 
the brink of the fountain. * 

Such are the testimonies adduced from the vegetable king- 
dom, respecting the uniformity and constancy of the tempera- 

* If I understand our author, he means to assert, that every species of 
plant once created, stlU exists. This I cannot believe ; on the contrary, I 
think it sufficiently evident, that many species of plants have been entirely 
lost. Who will venture to doubt this, when he sees impressed upon slate, 
free-stone, &c., the imag-cs, nay sometimes even portions of the liq'neous 
substance, of plants, the living representatives of which are no longer to be 
found ! What is there to prevent the total annihilation of some of those spe- 
cies of veg-etablcs, whMi are confined, and sometimes in small quantity, to 
very narrow districts^ particular countries ? The botanists of a future age, 
may look in vain, for the marjoram of the Greek Amorgos, for the delicate 
little talinum of Pennsjlvania and \ irginia, and even perhaps, for tlie won- 
derful dionaea, of Carolina. It is easy to sec, in many instances, in what 
TTiunntr certain species of plants may become extinct.— B. S. B. 

STUDY IV. 155 

ture of the Globe ; let us examine those of the Human Race. 
There are some of the inhabitants of Switzerland, it is alleged, 
who have perceived a progressive accumulation of the ices on 
their mountains. I could oppose to this evidence that of other 
modem Observers, who, in the view of ingratiating themselves 
with the Princes of the North, pretend, with as little founda- 
tion, that the cold is diminishing there, because these Princes 
have thought proper to cut down the forests of their States ; 
but I shall adhere to the testimony of the Ancients, who could 
not possibly intend to flatter any one on a subject of this nature. 
If the refrigeration of the Earth is perceptible in the life of 
one man, it mast be much more so in the life of Mankind: 
now all the temperatures described by the most ancient Histo- 
rians, as that of Germany by Tacitus, of Gaul by Cesar, of 
Greece by Plutarch, of Thrace by Xenophon, are precisely the 
same at this day, as they were at the time when those several 
Historians wrote. The Book of Job the Arabian, which there 
is reason to believe is more ancient than the Writings of Mo- 
ses,* and which contains views of Nature much more profound 
than is generally imagined, views, the most common whereof were 
imknown to us two centuries ago, makes frequent mention of 
the falling of the snows in that country, that is, toward the thir- 
tieth degree of North Latitude. Mount Lebanon, from the 
remotest antiquity, bears the Arabian name of Liban, which 
signifies white, on account of the snows with which it's summit 

• It is the opinion of several writci's of much learning, that the Book of Job 
was wholly written by Moses. But this hjqjothesis has been ably opposed by 
the President Goguet, in a dissertation vpon the authenticity mul antiquity of 
tliis hook. Goguet supposes that Job was cotemporary with Jacob ; that the 
book, " as we have it at present," is " in part an original work, and in part a 
translation;" and that tlie narration or historical part of the work was writ- 
ten by Moses. In tliis part, says our learned author, " we do not find one 
word tliat is not pure Hebrew. Tlie style of it is perfectly similar to that of 
the Pentateuch ; no body can maintain tlic contrary, without exposing him- 
self to the charge of prevarication, or of ignorance in the Hebrew language." 
" As to the rest of the book of Job, such as we have it, Moses (sa\s the Pre- 
sident) being only tlie translator, it is not at all surp^fcig, that we find some 
words in it taken from the Syriac and Clialdec." The whole of tlie disser- 
tation is well wortliy of perusal. It is annexed to the first volume of Go- 
puet's excellent woi-k, entitled " The Origin of Laws, Arts, and Sciences, 
and tlieir Progress among the most ancient nations " English translation 
i:dinburgh : 17r5.--K. S. «, 


is covered all the year round. Homer relates that it snowed in 
Ithaca when Ulysses arrived there, which obliged him to bor- 
row a cloak of the good Eumeus. 

If, during a period of three thousand years and more, the 
cold had gone on increasing from year to year in all these Cli- 
mates, their Winters must now have been as long and as severe 
as in Greenland. But Lebanon, and the lofty provinces of 
Asia, have preserved the same temperature. The little Isle 
of Ithaca is still covered in Winter with the hoar frost ; and it 
produces, as in the days of Telemachus, the laurel and the 
olive. * 

* I feel much inclined to adopt the opinions of Saint-Pierre in this part of 
his work, notwithstanding- they are opposed by the learning and ingenuity of 
many writers. I do not believe, indeed, that the climates of different 
regions of the old world have undergone so gi-eat an alteration in tlieir tem- 
peratures, as has often been supposed. I am not ignorant of what has been 
WTitten upon this subject by Dr. H. Williamson, the abbe Mann, Mr. Mallet, 
and other writers. But I think it may be shown, and I hope it will be shown, 
that these writers have not taken extensive views of the great and important 
question winch they have treated. But I would not be understood to con- 
tend for the invariublp. uniformity and constancy of the tempei-atui-e of the 
Globe. — In regard to Nortli-America, my own inquiries have fully satisfied 
3ne, that no essential or permanent change in the temperature of those parts of 
this continent with wlxich we are the best acquainted, has taken place. — B. S. B 



THE Earth is, say the Objectors, a garden very injudiciously 
laid out. Men of wit, who never travelled, have amused them- 
selves with painting it, when proceeding from the hand of Natui-e, 
as if the giants had been a fighting in it. They represent it's ri- 
vers flowing at random ; it's morasses as vast collections of mud ; 
the trees of it's forests turned upside down ; it's plains buried 
under rocks, or overspread with briars or thorns ; all it's high 
ways rendered unpassable ; all it's culture the puny efforts of 
human genius. Such representations, though picturesque, have, 
I, acknowledge, sometimes afflicted me, because they inspired 
me with distrust of the Author of Nature. To no purpose could 
it be supposed that in other respects He had loaded Man with 
benefits; one of our first and most pressing necessities had been 
overlooked, if He had neglected to care for our habitation. 

The inundations of rivers, such as those of the Amazon, of the 
Oroonoko, and a great many others, are periodical. They ma- 
nure the lands which they inundate. It is well known, besides, 
tliat the banks of those rivers swarmed with populous nations 
before any European had formed a settlement there. The inha- 
bitants derived much benefit from these inundations, partly from 
the abundance of the fisheries, partly from the fertility commu- 
nicated to the lands. So far from considering them as convulsions 
of Nature, they received them as blessings from Heaven, just as 
the Egyptian prized the overflowings of the Nile. Was it then 
a mortifying spectacle to them to see their deep forests intersect- 
ed with long alleys of water, which they could without trouble 
traverse in all directions in the canoes, and pick the fruits at 
their ease ? Nay, certain tribes, such as those of the Oroonoko, 
determined by these accommodations, had acquired the singu- 
lar habit of dwelling on the tops of trees, ana of seeking under 
their foliage, like the birds, an habitation, and food, and a for- 
tress. Whatever may be in this, most of them inhabited only the 
banks of the rivers, and preferred them to the vast deserts with 
which tlicy are surrounded, though not exposed to inundatioiii. 


We see order only where we can see corn grow. The habit 
which we have acquired of confining the channels of our rivers 
within dikes and mounds, of gravelling and paving our high 
roads, of applying the straight line to the alleys in our gardens, 
and to our basons of water, of squaring our parterres, nay, our 
very trees, accustoms us insensibly to consider every thing which 
deviates from our rectangles, as abandoned to confusion. But it is 
in places with which we have been tampering, that we frequently 
see real disorder. We set fountains a playing on the tops of moun- 
tains ; we plant poplars and limes upon rocks ; we throw our 
vineyards into valleys, and raise our meadows to the declivities 
of hills. 

Let these laborious exertions be relaxed ever so little, and all 
such petty levellings will presently be confounded under the 
general levelling of Continents, and all this culture, the work of 
Man, will disappear before that of Nature. Our sheets of 
water degenerate into marshes ; our hedge-row elms burst into 
luxuriancy ; everv flower is choked, every avenue closes : the 
vegetables natural to each soil declare war against the strangers ; 
the starry thistle and vigorous verbascum, stifle under their 
broad leaves the English short grassy sod ; thick crops of rye- 
grass and trefoil gather round the trees of Palestine ; the bram- 
ble scrambles along their stem, with it's prickly claws, as if 
mounting a breach ; tufts of nettles take possession of the vu-n 
of the Naiads, and forests of reeds of the fcft-ges of Vulcan ; 
greenish scales of ninium corrode the faces of our Venuses, 
without paying any resj^ect to their beauty. The trees them- 
selves lay siege to the castle ; the wild cherry, the elm, the 
maple, mount upon it's ridges, plunge their long pivots into it's 
iofty pediments, and at length obtain the victory over it's 
haughty cupolas. The ruins of a park no less merit the reflec- 
tions of the Sage, than those of the empire : they equally 
demonstrate how inefficient the power of Man is, w^hen strug- 
gling against that of Nature. 

I have not had the felicity, like the primitive Navigators, 
v.ho discovered uninhabited islands, to contemplate the face of 
the ground as it came from the hand of the Creator ; but I 
have stSti portions of it which had undergone alterations suffi- 
ciently inconsiderable to satisfy me, that nothing could then 
equal their virgin beauties. They had produced an influence 

STUDY V. 159 

on the first relations which were formed by them, and had dif- 
fused over these a freshness, a colouring, a native grace inex- 
pressible, which will ever distinguish them to advantage, not- 
withstanding their simplicity, from the learned descriptions 
which have been given of them in modern times. 

To the influence of these first aspects I ascribe the superior 
talents of the earlier Writers who have painted Nature, and the 
sublime enthusiasm which a Homer and an Orpheus have trans- 
fused into their poesy. Among the Moderns, the Historian of 
Ansoji's expedition, Cook^ Banks^ Solander^ and some others, 
have described several of these natural sites in the islands of 
Tinian, Masso, Juan Fernandez, and Otaheite, which have 
delighted all person's of real taste, though these islands had 
been in part degraded by the Indians and Spaniards. 

I have seen only countries frequented by Europeans, and 
desolated by war, or by slavery : but I shall ever recollect with 
pleasure two of those sites, the one on this side the Tropic of 
Capricorn ; the other beyond the sixtieth degree of North 
latitude. Notwithstanding my inability, I am going to attempt 
a sketch of these, in order to convey as well as I can an idea of 
the manner in which Nature disposes her plans in Climates so 
very opposite. 

The first was a part, then uninhabited, of the Isle of France, 
of fourteen leagues extent, which appeared to me the most 
beautiful portion of it, though the black maroons, who take re- 
fuge there, had cut down on the sea-shore the lataniers with 
which they fabricate their huts, and on the mountains the pal- 
mettos, whose tips they use as food, and the liannes, of which 
they make fishing-nets. They likewise degrade the banks of the 
rivulets, by digging out the bulbous roots of the nymphsea, on 
which they live, and even those of the Sea, of which they eat, 
without exception, every species of the shelly tribes, and which 
they leave here and there on the shore in great piles burnt up. 
Notwithstanding these disorders, that part of the island had 
preserved traces of it's ancient beauty. It is perpetually expo- 
sed to the South-east wind, which prevents the forests that cover 
it from extending quite down to the brink of the Sea ; but a 
broad selvage of turf, of a beautiful sea-green, which surrounds 
it, facilitates the communication all around, and harmonize^ on 


the one side with the verdure of the woods, and on the other 
with the azure of the billows. 

The view is thus divided into two aspects, the one presenting 
land, the other water. The land-prospect presents hills flying 
behind each other, in the form of an amphitheatre, and whose 
contours, covered with trees in pyramids, exhibit a majestic 
profile on the vault of Heaven. Over these forests rises, as it 
were, a second forest of palmettos, which balance above the 
solitary valleys their long columns, crowned with party-coloured 
plumes of palms, and surmounted with a spiral peak. The 
mountains of the interior present at a distance oval-shaped rocks, 
clothed with great trees, and pendant liannes, floating like dra- 
peiy by every breath of the wind. Above these rise lofty pin- 
nacles, round which are continually collected the rainy clouds ; 
and when these are illuminated by the rays of the Sun, you see 
the colours of the rainbow painted on their peaks, and the rain- 
water flowing over their dusky sides in brilliant sheets of crys- 
tal, or in long fillets of silver. No obstacle prevents your 
perambulating the borders which embellish their sides and their 
bases, for the rivulets which descend from the mountains pre- 
sent along their banks slips of sand, or broad plates of rock, 
from which they have washed the earth clean away. Besides, 
they clear a free passage from their source to the place of their 
discharge, by undermining the trees which would grow in their 
channel, and by fertilizing those which do grow on their mar- 
gin ; and they expand over these through their whole course 
great arches of verdure, which fly off in perspective, and which 
are visible from the shore of the Sea. The liannes inter- 
weave themselves along the circumference of the arches, secure 
their arcades against the winds, and decorate them most beauti- 
fully, by opposing to their foliage other foliages, and to their 
verdure garlands of glossy flowers, or pods of various colours. 
If a tree, wasted by age, happens to fall down. Nature, which 
universally hastens on the destruction of all useless beings, 
covers it's trunk with maiden-hair of the most beautiful green, 
and agarics undulated with yellow, saffron, and purple, which 
feed on it's spoils. 

Toward the sea side, the turf which borders the island is up 
and down sowed with thickets of latanier, whose palms, formed 
into a fan, and attached to pliant membranes, radiate in the air 

STUDY V. 161 

like so many verdant suns. These lataniers advance even into 
the Sea, on the capes of the island, with the land fowls which 
inhabit them ; while the small bays, swarming with multitudes 
of sea-fowl which swim in the water, and which are paved, if 
I may be allowed the expression, with madrepores of the colour 
of the peach-blossom ; the black rocks covered with rose- 
coloured nerits, and shells of every kind, penetrate into the 
island, and reflect, like so many mirrors, all the objects of the 
Land and of the Heavens. You would imagine that you saw 
the birds flying in the water, and the fishes swimming among 
the trees, and you would be tempted to say. Here is the mar- 
riage of Terra and Occanus^ who thus blend and confound their 

In the greatest part even of iminhablted islands lying between 
the Tropics, when the discovery of them was made, the banks 
of sand which surround them were found to be filled with turtle, 
which came hither to lay their eggs, and with the scarlet flamin- 
gos, which, as they sit on their nests, resemble burning torches. 
They had besides, a border of mangliers, covered with oysters, 
I which opposed their floating foliage to the violence of the waves, 
and of cocoa-trees loaded with fruit, which advancing into the 
\ery sea along the breakers, presented to the mariner's eye, the 
aioect of a city with it's ramparts and it's avenues, and announ- 
ced to them from afar the asylum prepared for them by the God 
of tlie Seas. These difl"erent kinds of beauty must have been 
convmon to the isle of France, with many other islands, and 
were in all probability destroyed by the craving necessities of the 
first inariners who landed upon them. Such is the very imper- 
fect rtpresentation of a country, the climate of which, according 
to ancient Philosophers, was uninhabitable, and the soil of 
which modern Philosophers consider as a scum of the Ocean, 
or of volcanos. 

The second rural scenery, which I surveyed with rapture, 
and of which I am going to attempt a description, was in Rus- 
sian Finland, when I was employed, in 1764, on a visitation of 
it's fortresses with the Generals of the corps of Engineers, in 
which I then served. We were travelling between Sweden and 
Russia, through a country so little frequented, that the first had 
encroached 6n the great line of demarkation which separates 
Voi. I. \ 


theifcbundaries of the t\v& feouritries. It Mtas impossible to get 
through in a carriage, and we were' under the necessity of em- 
ploying the country people to cut. down the trees, that our 
equipages might follow us. We weye ^blev however, to pene- 
trate in every direction on foot, and frequendy on horseback , 
though we were obliged to inspect the windings, the summits, 
and the smallest recesses of a great number of rocks, in order 
to ascertain their natural capability of defence, and though Fin- 
land is so covered with these, that ancient Geographers have 
given it the surname of Lapidosa (stony.) 

Not only are these rocks scattered about in great blocks over 
the surface of the earth, but the valleys, and entire hills, are 
there in many places fonned of a single mass of solid rock. 
This rock is a soft granite which exfoliates, and whose scurf 
fertilizes the plants, at the same time that the enormous mass 
shelters them from the North-wind, "and reflects on them the 
rays of the Sun, by their curves and the particles of mica with 
which it is filled. The bottoms of these valleys were skirted 
with long borders of meadow, which every where facilitate tht 
communication. At the places where they were pure rock, as 
in their original state, they were covered with a plant, called by 
the natives Klotikva^ which thrives pn the rock. It comes ou/ 
of the clefts, and seldom rises higher than a foot and a half; bit 
it spreads in all directions, and extends far and wide. It^s 
leaves and verdure resemble those of the box, and it's boughs 
are loaded with a red berry, good to eat, resembling the straw- 

The fir, the birch, and the service-tree vegetated wondei'fully 
well on the sides of those hills, though in many places they found 
scarcely earth sufficient in which to insert their roots. The 
summits of most of them were rounded in the form of a scull- 
cap, and rendered quite glistering by the water which oozed 
across the long crevices that furrowed them. Many of these 
scull-caps were perfectly bare, and so slippery, that it was diffi- 
cult to walk over them. They were crowned round and round 
with a broad belt moss of an emerald green, out of which started 
here and there an infinite number of mushrooms of every form, 
and of every colour. Some of them were shaped like large 
scarlet-coloured tweezer-cases, studded with dots of white; 
others were orange-coloured and formed like a parasol; others 

STUDY V. 163 

> Alovf as saffron, and of the oblong form of an egg. Some 
were of the purest white, and so well rounded, that you would 
have taken them for ivory draughts-men. 

These mosses and mushrooms spread along the threads of 
water which flowed from the summits of the rocky hills, extend- 
ing in long rays across the woods with which their sides were 
covered, and proceeded to skirt their extremities, till they were 
confounded with a multitude of strawberry and raspbeny plants. 
Nature, to indemnif}- this country for the scarcity of apparent 
flowers to please the eye, of which it produces but few, has be- 
stowed their perfumes on several plants, such as the calamus 
uromaticuSy the birch which in Spring exhales a kind of odour 
of roses, and the fir, the apple of which is sweet-scented. She 
has, in like manner, diffused the colours of flowers the most 
agreeable, and the most brilliant, on the most common of vege- 
tables, such as on the cones of the larch, which are of a beauti- 
ful violet, on the scarlet grains of the sorb-apple, on mosses and 
mushrooms, and even on turnip-radishes. 

On the subject of this last vegetable, hear what the accurate 
Corne'ille le Bruyn says, in his Voyage to Archangel :* " During 
" our residence among them (the Samoiedes), they brought us 
" several sorts of turnips, of various colours, and extremely 
" beautiful. Some of them were violet-coloured, like our 
*' plumbs, gray, white, yellowish, all of them streaked with red, 
" like Vermillion, or the finest laca, and as grateful to the eye as 
" a pink. I painted some of them on paper in water-colours, 
'' and sent part to Holland, in a box filled with dry sand, to one 
*' of my friends, who*is fond of such curiosities. I carried those 
" which I had painted to Archangel, where no one would believe 
*' they were copied after Nature, till I produced the turnips 
•' themselves : a proof that no great attention is paid there to the 
"■ rarest and most curious productions of Nature." 

I take those turnips to be of the radish sort, the bulb of which 
grows above ground. At least I presume so, from the drawing 
itself of 6'(j;vz«7/e le Brnijn^ and from having seen such in Fin- 
land ; they are in a taste superior to that of our colewort, and 
have a flavour similar to the artichoke bottom. I have pro- 
duced these testimonies of a Painter, and that Painter a Dutch- 

♦ Vol. iii. p. 21. 


man, respecting the beauty of those coloured vegetaolcs, to cor- 
rect the prejudice with which so many are hurried away, that 
in the Indies only the Sun gives a magnificent colouring to 
plants. But nothing, in my opinion, equals the beautiful green 
of the plants of the North, especially in the Spring. I have fre- 
quently admired, in particular, that of the birch, of the turf, and 
of the mosses, some of which are glazed with violet and purple. 
The solemn firs themselves, then burst into festoons of the most 
delicate green; and when they come to throw from the ex- 
tremity of their branches the yellow tufts of stamina, they appear 
like vast pyramids, loaded all over with little lamps. 

We encountered no obstacle in traversing their forests. Some- 
times there lay in the way an aged birch, laid low by the hand 
of Time, and internally consumed by the worm ; but in step- 
ping on the rind, it supports you like a piece of thick leather. 
The wood of these birches decays very fast, and their bark, 
which no humidity is able to corrupt, is carried away, on the 
melting of the snows, into the lakes, where it swims about all in 
one piece. As to the firs, when they fall, humidity and the 
mosses consvime them in a very little time. This country is 
intersected with great lakes, which every where present new 
means of communication, as they j^netrate far into the land by 
their branching gulfs, and exhibit a new species of beauty, by 
reflecting in their still waters the openings of the valleys, the 
mossy hills, and the pendent firs bending from the promonto- 
ries over their shores. 

It would be no easy matter to describe the hospitable recep- 
tion which we found in the solitary mansigns of those northern 
regions. Their masters exerted themselves in every possible 
way to detain us among them for many clays together. They 
sent to the distance of ten, of fifteen leagues, invitations to their 
friends and relations, to come and assist them to entertain us. 
The days and the nights passed away in dancing and festivity. 
In the cities, the principal inhabitants regaled us by turns. 
Amidst this hospitable conviviality, we made the tour of the 
cities of poor Finland, Wiburg, Villemanstrand, Fredericksham, 
Nislot, and several others. The castle of this last town is situ- 
ated on a rock at the discharge of Eake Kiemen, which sur- 
rounds it with two cataracts. From it's platforms you perceive 
the vast extent of that lake. We dined in one of it's four 

STUDY V. 165 

towers, in a small apartment illuminated by windows like gun- 
ports. It is the very apartment in which the unfortunate Ivan 
was so long^ confined, who descended from the Throne of the 
Russian Empire, at the age of two years and a half. But this 
is not the place to expatiate on the influence which moral ideas 
may diffuse over Landscapes. 

Plants then are not scattered about at random over the Earth ; 
and though nothing has been hitherto said respecting their gene- 
ral arrangement in different Climates, this simple sketch is suf- 
ficient to demonstrate, that there is order in their combination. 
If we examine, in like manner, however superficially, their ex- 
pansion, their attitude, their magnitude, and proportions, we 
shall fnd that there is as much harmony in the aggregation of 
their parts, as in that of their species. It is impossible in any 
one respect to consider them as mere mechanical productions of 
heat and cold, of drjmess and humidity. Our scientific Systems 
have brought us back precisely to the opinions which precipita- 
ted barbarous Nations into idolatry, as if it were necessary that 
the perfec':ion of our illumination should be the re-commence- 
ment and return of our darkness; conformably to the well- 
grounded censure of the Author of the Book of Wisdom : Aid 
ignem^ aiit spiritnm^ out citatum acrem, ant gijrian stellarum, ant 
nimiam aqiiam^ ant solem id' lunain^ rectores orbis terrarum Deos 
putaverunt:* "They could not out of the good things that are 
" seen know him that is ; neither, by considering the works, did 
" they acknowledge the Work -master: but deemed either fire, 
" or wind, or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the violent 
*' water, or the lights of Heaven, to be the Gods which govern 
*' the world. 

All these physical causes united could not have determined 
the port of one single moss. In order to be convinced of tl^s, 
let us begin with examining the circulation of plants. It has 
been laid down as an indubitable principle, that their saps ascend 
through the wood, and re-descend through the rind. To the 
experiments which have been detailed in proof, I shall oppose 
only the instance of a great chesnut-tree, in the garden of the 
Thuilleries, near the terrace of the Feuillants, which for twentj 
years past has had no bark round it's upper part, and which 

" Wisdom of Solomon, chap. xiii. vcr. ?. 


nevertheless is in perfect vigour. ISIany elms on the Boulevardy 
are in the same state. On the other hand, we have seen old 
hollowed willows which have not a bit of good wood left. Be- 
sides, how is it possible to apply this principle of vegetation to 
a multitude of plants, some of which are composed entirely of 
tubes, and to others which have no rind, being enclosed only in 
dr)' pellicles ? 

Neither is there more truth in the supposition that they rise 
in a perpendicular line, and that to this direction they are deter- 
mined by the action of columns of air. Some, it must be al- 
lowed, do follow this direction, as the fir, the stalk of corn, the 
reed. But a much greater number deviate from it, such as 
creeping plants of every species, vines, liannes, French-beans, 
and many others. Others ascend vertically, and having arrived 
at a certain'height, in an air perfectly unobstiiicted, fork off in 
various tiers, and send out their branches horizontally, as the 
apple-tree; or incline them toward the Earth, like firs; or hol- 
low them in form of a cup, like the sassafras ; or round them into 
a mushroom's head, like the pine ; or straighten them into a py- 
ramid, like the poplar; or roll them as wool on the distaff, like 
the cypress ; or let them float at the discretion of the winds, 
like the birch. 

All these attitudes may be seen under the same bearing of 
the wind. Nay, there are some which assume forms that all 
the art of the gardener could hardly impress upon them, ouch 
is the badamier of the Indies, which grows up into the form of 
a p\Tamid, and bears it divided into stories, like the king of the 
i.hess-board. There are plants uncommonly vigorous which, 
far from pursuing the vertical line, recede from it the very mo- 
ment they get above ground. Such is the false potatoe of In- 
dia, which loves to craAvl along the sand of the shores in hot 
covmtries, covering whole acres in it^s progress. Such, too, is 
the ratan of China, which frequently grows in similar situations. 
These plants do not crawl from weakness. The scions of the 
ratan are so strong, that the Chinese make cordage of them for 
their sliipping; and when they are on the ground, they serve 
as a trap for the deer, who find it impossible, with all their 
force, to disengage themselves. They are nets spread out by 
ihe hand of Nature. 

STUDY V. 167 

I should never have done were I to run over tver so hastily 
the different ports of vegetables ; what I have said Is evidence 
sufficient, tihat there is not a single one whose direction is de- 
termined by the vertical column of the air. This error has 
gained currency, from it's being taken for granted that plants 
affected the greatest volume of air; and this error in Physics 
has produced another in Geometr}' ; for on this supposition 
they must all precipitate themselves to the Horizon, because 
there the column of air is more considerable than in the Ze- 
nith. We must, in like manner, reject the consecfUences which 
have been deduced from It, and laid down as principles of Ju- 
lisprudence for the division of lands in our boasted mathema- 
tical treatises; such is the following, That no more xvood^ or 
rorn^ or grass ^ can groxv upon the declivities of a mountain^ than 
what would groxv on the area of it's basis. There is not a 
wood-cutter, nor hay-maker In the world, who could not de- 
monstrate the contrary from his experience. 

Plants, it has been said, are mechanical bodies. * Well, 
then, try to construct a body so slim, so tender, so fragile, as 
that of a leaf, which shall for whole years resist the winds, the 
rains, the keenest frost, the most ardent Sun. A spirit of life, 
independent of all Latitudes, governs plants, preserves them, 
re-produces tliem. They repair the Injuries which they mav 
have sustained, and skin over their wounds with a new rind. 
The pyramids of Eg>'pt are crumbled Into powder; but the 
grasses which cloathed the soil while the Pharaohs filled the 
throne subsist to this day. How many Greek and Roman se- 
pulchural monuments, the stones of which wei'e rivetted with 
iron, have one after another disappeared ! Nothing remains 
around their ruins, except the cypresses which shaded them ! f 

• Xo sensible naturalist now believes, that vegetables are " mechanical bo- 
dies." They are org-anized bodies, endued with liic, with the property of 
irritability, and in all probability, with more or less of sensibility, or thf^ 
power of feeling. If this last property cannot be proved to exist in plants, 
arc tlierc not unlmah, also, in which the existence of the principle of feeling- 
is only rendered probable from the phenomena which are presented to us ' 

IJ. S. B. 

\ This is beautiful ! Plants, indeed, are not immortal ; that is, the species 
of many plants may perish, amid tlie revolutions of this changing earth. But 
compared to the most curious and laboured specimens of human workman- 
sliif), the meanest vegetable is, indeed, longevous. Where do we now find 


It is the Sun, say they, who gives existence to vegetables^ 
and who maintains that existence. But that great agent of Na- 
ture, all-powerful as he is, must not be considered as the only 
determining cause even of their expansion. If his heat invites 
most of those of our Climates to open their flowers, it obliges 
others to shut them. Such are, of this last description, the 
great nightshade of Peru, and the arbor tristis (the sad tree) 
of the Moluccas, which flower only in the night-time. Nay, 
his remoteness from our Hemisphere does not destroy in it the 
power of Nature. At that season vegetate most of the mosses 
which clothe the rocks with an emerald-coloured green ; and 
then the trunks of trees cover themselves in humid situations 
with plants imperceptible to the naked eye, called Mnium and 
Lichen^ which gave them the appearance in frosty weather of 
columns of green bronze. These vegetations, in the severity 
of Winter, overtvim all our reasonings respecting the univer- 
sal effects of heat, as plants of an organization so extremely 
delicate seem to need, in order to their expansion, a tempei-a- 
ture the most gentle. 

Again, the fall of the leaf itself, which we have been taught 
to consider as an effect of the Sun's absence, is not occasioned 
by the cold. If the palm retains it's foliage all the year round 
in the South, the fir is equally an evergreen in the North. The 
birch, it is true, the larch, and several other species of trees, 
shed their leaves in northern Climates on the approach of Win- 
ter ; but a similar depredation is likewise made on other trees 
to the Southward. It is the resinous substance, we are told, 
which preserves the foliage of the fir in the North; but the 
larch, which is likewise a resinous plant, is stripped of it's ver- 
dure in Winter ; whereas the fllaria, the ivy, the privet, and 
many other species, which are not resinous, continue with us 
in full verdure at all seasons. 

Without having recourse to mechanical causes, the effects of 
which always contradict themselves whenever you attempt to 
generalize them. Wliy not recognize, in these varieties of ve- 
getation, the steady and uniform direction of a Providence ? 

the v/alls of Babylon ■ But Ihc hyssop, or the moss, which covered those 
-walls, still exists, and Avill, in all probability, continue to exist so long- as tht 
■waters of the Tigris or Euphrates shall continue to flo^\-.— B. S. B 

STUDY V. 169 

That Providence has assigned to the South trees always green, 
and has clothed them with a broad foliage, to shelter the ani- 
mal creation from the heat. In another respect, likewise, have 
the animals of hot climates been tenderly cared for, in being 
provided with clothing denuded of hair, consequently light and 
cool ; and in having their habitations garnished with green 
ferns and liannes, ever fresh and ever comfortable. Neither 
has bountiful Nature neglected the animals of the North. She 
has spread as a roof over their heads the evergreen firs, whose 
lofty and tufted pyramids ward off the snow from their roots, 
and whose branches are so well furnished with long gray 
mosses, that the trunk is rendered almost invisible ; for a bed, 
she has accumulated a bank of moss on the ground, in many 
places more than a foot in thickness; and the soft and dry 
leaves of many trees, which fall precisely at the approach of the 
inclement season : finally, their provision too is laid up in store, 
namely, the fruits of those very trees which have then arrived 
at full maturity. To these she has added, here and there, the 
scarlet clusters of the sorb-apple, which sparkling afar over the 
whiteness of the snows invite the birds to an asylum ; so that 
the partridge, the moor-cock, every species of snow-bird, the 
hare, the squirrel, frequently find under the shelter of the same 
fir a lodging, food, and the means of warmth. 

But one of the greatest blessings of Providence conferred on 
the animals of the North, is the clothing of them with furred gar- 
ments of long and thick hair, which regularly grow in Winter, 
and fall off in Summer. Naturalists, who consider the hair of 
animals as a species of vegetation, are at pains to account for 
this growth and decay, from the influence of heat. They pre- 
tend to support their system by the instance of the human hair 
and beard, which grow rapidly in Summer. But I would ask 
them, how it comes to pass that in cold countries horses, which 
in Summer are sleek and smooth, assume in Winter a long and 
shaggy coat, like the fleece of a sheep ? To this they reply, It 
is the internal heat of their body, increased by the external ac- 
tion of the cold, which produces this wonderful phenomenon. 

This is all very well. But I am under the necessity of ob- 
jecting, that cold does not produce this effect on the human 
beard and hair, for it retards their growth ; that besides, in the 
case of animals on which Providence bestows a clothing pecu- 

VoT, I. Y 


liarly warm, the hair is much longer and thicker on those parts 
of their body that have the least natural heat, such as the tail, 
which is verj" bushy in horses, martens, foxes, and wolves ; that 
this hair is short and thick on the parts which have most natu- 
ral heat, as the belly. Their backs, their ears, and frequently 
their veiy paws, are the parts most amply furnished with hair. 
But I satisfy myself with merely proposing this last objection ; 
the external and internal heat of an African lion ought surely to 
be at least as ardent as that of a Siberian wolf; whence is it 
then that the first is smooth, as if newly shaven, whereas the 
other is shagged up to the eyes ? 

The cold, which we have been taught to consider as one of 
the greatest obstacles of vegetation, is as necessary to certain 
plants as heat is to others. If those of the South could not 
thrive in the North, those of the North would not succeed bet- 
ter in the South. The Dutch have made many a vain attempt 
to make the fir grow at the Cape of Good Hope, in order to find 
a supply of ship-masts, which sell at a very high price in India. 
IVIany planters in the Isle of France have made attempts 
equally fruitless to raise in that island the lavender, the daisj', 
the violet, and other plants of our temperate climates. Alex- 
ander, who transplanted whole nations at his pleasure, could 
not, with all his efforts, make the ivy of Greece to grow in the 
vicinity of Babylon,* though he was ^'eiy ambitious of acting 
in India the character of Bacchus in complete style. 

I am persuaded, however, that it migt be possible to succeed 
in effecting those vegetable transmigrations, by employing ice 
in the South for the propagation of the plants of hot climates. 
I do not believe there is a single spot on the Globe in which 
we could not, with a little address and industry, procure ice as 
easily as we can procure salt. In the whole course of my tra- 
vels, I have never met with a temperature more sultry than that 
of the Island of Malta, though I have twice crossed the Line, 
and have passed a considerable part of my life in the Isle of 
France, where the Sun is vertical twice a year. The soil of 
Malta consists of little hills of white stone, which reflect the 
rays of the Sun with so much force, that the eye-sight is sensibly 
affected by it; and when the wind from Africa, known by tjie 

* See Plutaixh and Pliny. 

STUDY V. in 

name of Syroco^ which issues from the sands of Zara, on it's 
way to melt the ices of the North, comes to pass over that 
Island, the air is as hot as the breath of an oven. I recollect 
at that season a figure of Neptune in bronze on the sea-shore, 
the metal of which was heated to such a degree that you could 
scarcely apply your hand to it. They, however, imported into 
the island snow from Mount Etna, which is sixty leagues dis- 
tant ; they kept it for months together, laid on straw in vaults, 
and it was to be bought for a farthing a poimd weight, even 
when farmed out. Since then it is possible to have ice in 
Malta during the Dog-Pays, I think it might be procured in 
every country of the Globe. Nature besides, as we have seen, 
multiplies icy mountains in the vicinity of hot countries. I may 
perhaps be here reproached with indicating the means of pro- 
moting the increase of luxury ; but as the commonalty now live 
only on the luxury of the rich, my suggestion may tend to pro- 
mote at least the extension of the science of Nature. 

So far is cold from being the enemy of all plants, that it is in 
the North we find forests of the tallest growth, and of the great- 
est extent in the World. It is only at the foot of the eternal 
snows of Mount Lebanon that the cedar, the king of vege- 
tables, rises in all his majesty. The fir which is, next to him, 
the greatest tree of our forests, arrives at a prodigious size only 
on icy mountains, and in the cold climates of Norway and Rus- 
sia. Pliny tells us, that the largest piece of timber which had 
ever been seen at Rome, up to his time, was a vast log of fir a 
hundred and twenty feet long, and two feet square at both ends, 
which Tiberius had conveyed from the cold mountains of Vol- 
tolino in Piedmont, and which Nero employed in hrs amphi- 
theatre. You may judge, says he, what must have been the 
height of the tree as it grew, when a cutting of it had such di- 
mensions. However, as I believe that Pliny means Roman 
feet, which are of the same dimension with those of the Rhine, 
we must subtract from this measurement about a twelfth part 
nearly. He quotes besides, the fir mast of the vessel which 
brought from Egypt the obelisk that Caligula ordered to be set 
up in the Vatican ; this mast was four fathoms in circumference. 
I know not where it might have grown. But \ myself have 
seen firs in Russia, compared to which those of our temperate 
climates are mere twigs. Among others I remember to have 
seen, between Petersburg and Moscow, two log-s which exceed- 


ed in size the largest of our masts for ships of war, though these 
consist of several pieces. They were cut from the same tree, 
and served as mounting blocks at the gate of a peasant's farm- 
yard. The boats which convey provisions from Lake Ladoga 
to Petersburg are not much smaller than those which ply be- 
tween Rouen and Paris. They are constructed of fir planks 
from two to three inches thick, sometimes two feet broad, and 
whose length is that of the whole barge. The Russian carpen- 
ters of the cantons where they are built, make only a single 
plank out of one tree, timber being in such plenty there, that they 
do not take the trouble to saw it. 

Before I had travelled into northern countries, I took it for 
granted, in conformity to the laws of our Physics, that the 
earth must there be stripped of every thing like vegetation by 
the rigor of the cold. I was very much astonished to find there 
the largest trees I had ever seen in my life, and growing so 
near each other, that a squirrel could easily scamper over great 
part of Russia without touching the ground, by springing from 
branch to branch. This vast forest of firs covers Finland, In- 
gi'ia, Estonia, the whole space comprehended between Peters- 
burg and Moscow, and thence extends over a great part of 
Poland, where oaks begin to appear, as I know from actual 
observation, having travelled through these countries. But what 
I have seen is a very small part only of those immense forests, 
for it is well knoAvn that tliey extend from Norway all the way 
to Kamschatka, some sandy deserts excepted ; and from Bres- 
lau to the shores of the Frozen Ocean. 

I shall conclude this article with refuting an error alluded to 
in the preceding Study ; namely, that cold is diminished in the 
North, in proportion as the forests arc cut down. As this posi- 
tion has been advanced by some of our most celebrated Writers, 
and afterwards retailed, as the custom is, by a multitude of 
others ; it is of importance to overturn it, as being highly pre- 
judicial to rural economy. I had long adopted it as incontestibly 
certain, on the faith of History ; but I was at length cured of 
my mistake, not however by books, bat by simple peasants. 

One day in Summer, about two o'clock after noon, being 
about to cross the forest of Ivry, I saw some shepherds with 
their flocks, who kept at a considerable distance from it, repo- 
sing under the shade of some trees that were scattered up and 
down through the country. I asked them why they did not go 

STUDY V. 173 

"with their flocks to take sheher in the forest from the heat of 
the Sun. They told me it was too hot there at that time of the 
day, and that they never drove their sheep thither except in the 
morning and evening. Being desirous however of traversing in 
broad day the woods in which Henry IV. had hunted, and of 
arriving betimes at Anet, to take a view of the countiy-palace 
of Henry II. and of the tomb Diana of Poitiers, his mistress, I 
had engaged a lad belonging to one of the shepherds to attend 
me as a guide, which was a very easy matter to him, for the 
great road leading to Anet crosses the forest in a straight line ; 
and it is on that side so little frequented, that I found it covered 
in many places with tufts of grass and strav/berry plants. I felt 
all the way as I walked along a stifling heat, and much more 
ardent than was at that hour felt in the open country. I did not 
begin to respire freely till I had got fairly clear of it, and had 
made my escape from the edge of the forest more than the dis- 
tance of three musket shot. In other respects those shepherds, 
that solitude, that silence of the woods, blended with the recol- 
lection of Henry IV. appeared to me much more affecting and 
sublime than the emblems of the chace in bronze, and the cy- 
phers of Henry II. interwoven with the crescents of Diana, 
which embellish on all sides the domes of the Castle of Anet. 
This royal residence, loaded with ancient trophies of love, in- 
spired at first a mixed emotion of pleasure and melancholy, 
which gradually subsided into profound sorrow, on recollecting 
that this love was illicit ; but this was followed at last by senti- 
ments of veneration and respect, which took complete possession 
oi my mind, on being informed that by one of those revolutions 
to which the monuments of men are so frequently subjected, the 
castle was then inhabited by the virtuous Duke of Penthievre. 
I have since reflected on what the shepherds told me respect- 
ing the heat of the woods, and on what I myself had experi- 
enced ; and I have in fact remarked that in the Spring all plants 
are more forward in the vicinity of the woods, and that you 
find violets in flower on their borders much earlier than you 
gather them on the open plain, or on a naked hill. Forests then 
shelter the land from cold in the North ; but what is equally 
wonderful, they shelter it likewise from the heat in warm coun- 
tries. These two opposite effects are produced entirely from the 
different forms and disposition of their leaves. In the North, 
those of the fir, the larch, the pine, the cedar, the juniper, are 


small, glossy, and varnished ; their delicacy, their vaniish, and 
the endless variety of their direction, reflect the heat around 
them a thousand different ways : they produce nearly tlie same 
effects as the hair of the animals of the North, whose furs are 
warm in proportion as the hair is fine and glossy. Besides, the 
leaves of some species, as of the fir and of the birch, are per- 
pendicularly suspended from the branches by long and moveable 
membranes, so that with every breath of the wind they reflect 
all around the rays of the Sun, like so many mirrors. 

In the South, on the contrary, the palms, the tallipot, the 
cocoa, the banana, bear leaves, which on the side next the 
ground are rather rough than glossy, and which spreading hori- 
zontally form a deep shade below, where there is not the least 
reflection of heat. I admit, at the same time, that the clearing 
away of forests dispels the coldness occasioned by humidity ; 
but it increases the dry and sharp colds of the North, as has 
been found on the lofty mountains of Norwav, which were for- 
merly cultivated, but are now uninhabitable, because they are 
completely stripped of their woods. 

This clearing of the ground likewise increases the heat in 
warm countries, as I have had occasion to observe in the Isle 
of France on several parts of the coast, which are become so 
parched, since every species of trees has been swept away, that 
they are at this day absolutely uMcultlvated. The very grass 
which pushes away during the rainy season, is in a short time 
quite burnt up by the Sun. Wliat is still worse, there results 
from this parchcdness of the coasts the drying up of a great many 
rivulets ; for the trees planted on the heights attract thither the 
humidity of the air, and fix it there, as we shall see in the 
Study on Plants. Besides, by destro}'ing the trees which are 
on the high grounds, you rob the valleys of their natural manure, 
and the plains of the pallisades which shelter them from the 
high winds. These winds desolate to such a degree the culti- 
vation in many places, that nothing can be made to grow. I 
ascribe to this last piece of mismanagement the sterility of the 
heaths in Britanny. In vain has the attempt been made to restore 
their ancient fertility : it never can succeed, till you begin with 
recalling their shelter and their temperature, by re-sowing their 
forests. But there is a requisite prior even to this ; you must 
render the peasantry happy. The prosperity of a country de- 
pends before and above all things on that of it's inhabitant's. 



WE shall continue to display the fecundity of Northern 
Regions, in order to overturn the prejudice which would ascribe 
this principle of life, in plants and animals only to the heat of 
the South. I could expatiate on the numerous and extensive 
chaces of elks, rein-deer, water-fowls, heath-cocks, hares, white 
bears, wolves, foxes, martens, ermines, beavers, and many others, 
which the inhabitants of the northern districts annually carry on, 
the very peltry of which, above what they employ for their own 
use, supplies them with a very considerable branch of commerce 
for the markets of all Europe. But I shall confine myself en- 
tirely to their fisheries, because these precious gifts of the 
Waters are presented to all Nations, and are no where so abun- 
dant as in the North. 

From the rivers and lakes of the North are extracted incred- 
ible multitudes of fishes, yohn Sclmffer^ the accurate Historian 
of Lapland, tells us,* that they catch annually at Tomeo no 
less than thirteen hundred boat-loads of salmon ; that the pike 
there grow to such a size, that some are found as long as a 
man, and that every year they salt as many as are sufficient for 
the support of four kingdoms of the North. But these fisheries, 
however productive, fall far short of those of the Seas.f From 
the bosom of these is dragged the enormous whale, which 
is usually about sixty feet in length, twenty feet broad over the 
body and at the tail eighteen feet high, and which yields to a 
hundred and thirty barrels of oil. The fat is two feet thick, 
and in cutting it off they are under the necessity of using great 
knives six feet long. 

From the Seas of the North annually take their departure in- 
numerable shoals of fishes, which enrich the fishers of all Europe ; 
such as cod, anchovies, sturgeon, dory, mackarel, pilchers, her- 
rings, sea-dogs, belugas, sea-calfs, porpoises, sea-horses, puffers, 

* History of Lapland, by John Scfueffcv. 
+ Consult Frederic Martem. of Hambiirs^. 


sea-unicorns, saw-fish, and the rest. — The size of them all is 
considerably larger than in temperate Latitudes, and they are 
divided into much more numerous species. There are compu- 
ted as high as twelve species of the whale tribe ; and plaice are 
caught in those seas of the enormous weight of four hundred 
pounds. But I shall farther confine myself to those fishes which 
are best known to us, herrings, for example. It is an incontes- 
tible fact, that the Seas of the North every year send out a 
quantity more than sufficient to feed all the inhabitants of Eu- 

We are in possession of Memoirs which prove, that the her- 
ring fishery was carried on so far back as the year 1163, in the 
Straits of Sunda, between the Islands of Schonon and Seeland. 
Philip de Mesit-res^ Governor to Charles VI. relates, in the Old 
Pilgrim'' s Dream, that in the year 1389, during the months of 
September and October, the quantity of herrings in those Straits 
was so prodigious, that " For sev^eral leagues together you 
" might," says he, " have cut them with a sword ; and it is cre- 
" dibly reported, that there are forty thousand boats which arc 
" employed in nothing else for two months but in catching her- 
" rings; each boat containing at least six persons, and many not 
" less than ten ; and besides these, there are five hundred great 
" and small vessels of burden, employed wholly in picking, salt- 
" ing, and barrelling up the herrings." He make the number 
of persons engaged in this fishery amount to three hundred 
thousand, Prussians and Germans. 

In 1610, the Dutch, who qarry on the herring-fishery still far- 
ther to the North, where the fish is better, employed in it three 
thousand boats, fifty thousand fishermen, without reckoning nine 
thousand other vessels employed in barrelling and conveying 
them to Holland, and a hundred and fifty thousand persons, 
partly at sea, partly on shore, engaged in the carrying trade, in 
preparing and selling. At that period they derived a revenue 
from it of two millions six hundred and fifty thousand pounds 
sterling. I myself have witnessed in Amsterdam, in 1762, the 
joy of the populace expressed by displaying streamers and flags 
over the shops where that fish was exposed to sale on their first 
arrivals ; and in every street this was the case. I have been 
informed in that city, that the Company established for canying 
on the herring-fisherj^ was richer, and fed more mouths, than 

STUDY VI. 177 

the East-India Company. The Danes, the Norwegians, the 
Swedes, the Hamburghers, the English, the Irish, and some 
traders of the ports of France, particularly of Dieppe, fitted out 
vessels for this fishery, but in too small a number for a fall of 
manna so plentiful, and so easily gathered. 

In 1782, at the mouth of the Gothela, a small river which 
washes the walls of Gottenburg, one hundred and thirty-nine 
thousand barrels were cured by siilt, three thousand seven hun- 
dred were smoaked, and two thousand eight hundred and forty- 
five casks of oil were extracted from what coidd not be preserv- 
ed. The Gazette of France,* which contains an account of this 
fishery, remarks that, previous to 1752, these fishes had entirely 
disappeared for 72 years together. I ascribe their desertion of 
this coast to some naval engagement, which had chased them 
away by the noise of the artillery, as is the case with the turtle 
of the island of Ascension, which forsake the road for weeks to- 
gether, when vessels passing that way discharge their gi-eat 
guns. It may perhaps be likewise accounted for from a confla- 
gration of the forests, which might have destroyed the vegeta- 
bles that attracted them to the coast. 

The good Bishop of Berghen, Pont Oppidan^ the Fenelon of 
Norway, who introduced into his popular sermons, complete 
tracts of Natural History, as being excellent articles of Theolog}', 
relates,! that when the herrings coasted along the shores of 
Norway, ' The whales, which pursue them in great numbers, 
*' and which dart their water-spouts into the air, give to the 
*' Sea, at a distance, the appearance of being covered over with 
" smoking chimnies. The herrings, in order to elude the pur- 
" suit, throw themselves close in-shore into every little bay and 
** creek, where the water, before tranquil, forms considerable 
" swellings and surges, wherever they croud to make their es- 
" cape. They branch off in such quantities that you may take 
*' them out in baskets-full, and the country people can even catch 
" them by the hand." After all, however, that the united ef- 
forts of all these fishers can effect, hardly any impression is made 
on their great general column, which coasts along Germany, 
France, Spain, and stretches as far as the Straits of Gibraltar; 
devoured the M'hole length of their passage by an innumerable 

• Friday the lltK October, 1"S2. 
f J*ont Oppidan's Naturnl llisloiy of Norwar 

Vol. I. Z 


multitude of other fishes and sea-fowls, which follow them night 
and day, till the column is lost on the shores of Africa, or re- 
turns, as other Authors tell us, to the Climates of the North. 

For my o-wni part, I no more believe that herrings return to 
the Seas from av hence they came, than that fruits re-ascend the 
trees from which they have once dropped. Nature is so mag- 
nificent in the entertainments which she provides for Man, that 
she never serves up the dishes a second time. I presume, con- 
formably to the observation of Father Lmnbertiy a missionary in 
Mingrelia, that these fishes accomplish the circuit of Europe by 
going up the Mediterranean, and that the utmost boundary of 
their emigration is the extremity of the Black Sea; and this is 
the more probable, that the pilchers, which take their departure 
from the same places, follow the same track, as is proved by the 
copious fisheries of them carried on along the coasts of Provence 
and Italy. " Many herrings," says Father Lamberti^* " are 
" sometimes seen in the Black Sea ; and in the years when this 
" happens, the inhabitants of the adjacent countries draw a flat- 
*' tering prognostic of a plentiful sturgeon-fishing season ; and 
" they deduce the opposite conclusion from the non-appearance 
'"' of herrings. There was seen in 1642 a quantity so prodigious 
" of them, that the Sea having thrown them on the shallows 
" which separate Trebisond from the country of the Abcasses, 
" the whole was covered and surrounded with a bank of her- 
" rings, which was at least three hand-breadths high. The peo- 
" pie of the country were under dreadful apprehensions that the 
" air would be poisoned by the corruption of these fishes ; but 
" they were presently followed by enormous flocks of crows and 
*•' rooks, which eat up the herrings, and cured the honest folks 
" of their terror. The natives talk of a similar appearance be- 
" fore that period, only the quantity was much inferior." 

The immense glut of herrings is undoubtedly matter of asto- 
nishment ; but how is that astonishment increased, when it is 
considered that this column is not the half of what annually 
issues from the Seas of the North ! It separates at the northern 
extremity of Iceland, and while one division proceeds to diffuse 
plenty over the shores of Europe, the other pushes forward to 
convey similar benefits to the shores of America. Anderson 

* Account of 3Iing-rclia, Thcvenot's Collection. 


STUDY VI. 179 

informs us, herrings are in such abundance on the coasts of Ice- 
land, that a shallop can with difficulty force it's way through the 
shoal by dint of rowing. They are accompanied by an incredi- 
ble multitude of pilchers and cod, which renders fish so plenty 
in the island, that the inhabitants have them dried and reduced 
to meal with a grindstone, to become food for their oxen and 

Father Rale^ a Jesuit and an American Missionary, speaking 
of the Savages who inhabit between Acadia and New-England, 
tells us,* " That they resort at a certain season to a river not far 
" distant, where for the space of a month the fishes force their 
" way upward in such quantities, that with hands sufficient fifty 
" thousand barrels may be filled in a single day. These are a 
" species of very large herrings, most agreeable to the taste 
" when fresh. They are pressed upon each other to the thick- 
" ness of a foot, and are taken out by pails-full, like water. The 
*' Savages dry them for eight or ten days, and live on them dur- 
" ing their whole seed-time." 

This testimony is confirmed by a great many others, and par- 
ticularly by a Gentleman of English extraction, but a native of 
America, who has favoured us with a History of Virginia. " In 
" Spring," sayshe,f "herrings push upwards in such quantities, 
" along the rivulets and fords of rivers, that it is almost impos- 
" sible to pass on horseback without trampling on those fishes. 
" Hence it comes to pass, that at this season of the year those 
" parts of the rivers where the water is fresh, are rendered fetid 
" by the fish which they contain. Besides herrings, there may 
" be seen an infinite number of shads, roach, sturgeon, and a 
*' few lampreys, which find their way from the Sea up the rivers." 

It would appear that another column of those fishes issues from 
the North Pole, to the eastward of our Continent, and passes 
through the channel which separates America from Asia, for 
we are informed by a missionary that the inhabitants of the land 
of Yasso go to Japan to sell, among other dried fishes, \ herrings 
also. The Spaniards, who had been attempting discoveries to the 
north of California, find all the nations of those regions to be 
fish-eaters, and unacquainted with every kind of cultivation. 

• Instructive Letters, vol. xxlii. pag-e 199. 

t History of Virg-inia, page 202. 

^ EccIcsiasUcal History of Japan, by Fatlver F SoUar Book xix chap, xi. 


Though they landed there only in the middle of Summer, be- 
fore perhaps the fishing season had commenced, they found 
pilchers in the greatest abundance, the native country and emi- 
grations of which are the same, for vast quantities of a smaller 
size are taken at Archangel. I have eaten of them in Russia, at 
the table of Mareschal Count Munich^ who called them the an- 
chovies of the North. 

But as the Northern Seas, which separate America from Asia, 
are not much known to us, I shall pursue this fish no further. 
I must however observe, that more than half of those herrings 
are filled v/ith eggs, and if the propagation were to go on to it's 
full extent for three or four generations only, without interrup- 
tion, the Ocean itself would be unable to contain them. It is ob- 
vious to the first glance of the eye, that the herring produces 
at least as many eggs as the carp. M. Petit^ a celebrated practi- 
tioner in Surgery and Medicine, has found by experiment that 
the two parcels of eggs of a carp eighteen inches long, weighed 
eight ounces two drachms, which make four thousand seven 
hundred and fifty two grains ; and that it required seventy-two 
of these eggs to make up the weight of one grain ; which gives 
a product of three hundred forty-two thousand one hundred and 
forty-four eggs, contained in one roe weighing eight ounces and 
two drachms. 

I have been somewhat diffuse on the subject of this particular 
species of fish, not in the view of promoting our commerce, 
which by it's offices, it's bounties, it's priviliges, it's exclusions, 
renders every article scarce with which it intenncddles, but 
in compassion to the poorer part of the community, reduced in 
many places to subsist entirelj- on bread, while Providence is 
bestowing on Europe, in the richest profusion, the most delicate 
of fishes perhaps that swims in the Sea.* We are not to form 
our judgment from those which are brought to Paris after the 
season is over, and which are caught on our coasts ; but from 
those which are caught far to the North, known in Holland by 
the name of pickled herrings^ and which are thick, large, fat, 
with the flavour of a nut, so delicate and juicy, that they melt 

* More than one epicure has already made this observation ; but here is 
another, on which few ai-e disposed to dwell, it is this, that in all cases, and 
in all countries, the most common things are the best. 

STUDY VI. 181 

away in the cooking, and are eaten raw from the pickle, as 
we do anchovies. 

The South Pole is not less productive of fishes than the North. 
The nations which are nearest to it, such as the inhabitants of 
the islands of Georgia, of New Zealand, of Maire's Strait, of 
the Terra-del-Fuego, of Magellan's Strait, live on fish, and 
practice husbandry of no kind. That honest Navigator, Sir 
John Narhrough^ says, in his Journal of a Voyage to the South 
Seas, that Port-Desire, which lies in 47 deg. 48 min. South 
Latitude, is so filled with penguins, sea-calves, and sea-lions, 
that any vessel touching there may find provisions in abun- 
dance. All these animals, which are there uncommonly fat, 
live entirely on fish. When he was in Magellan's Strait, he 
caught at a single draught of the net more than five hundred 
large fishes, resembling the mullet, as long as a man's leg; 
smelts twenty inches long ; a great quantity of fish like the an- 
chovy : in a word, they found of every sort such an abundant 
profusion, that they ate nothing else during their stay in those 
parts. The beautiful mothcr-of-pcarl shells .which enrich our 
rabinets, under the name of the Magellan-oyster, are there of 
a prodigious size, and excellent to eat. The lempit, in like 
manner, giows there to a prodigious magnitude. There must 
he, continues he, on these shores an infinite number of fishes to 
support the sea-calves, the penguins, and the other fowls, which 
live solely on fish, and which are all equally fat, though their 
number is beyond computation. They one day killed four hun- 
dred sea-lions in the space of half an hour. Of these some were 
eighteen feet long. Those which are only fourteen swarm by 
thousands. Their flesh is as tender and as white as lamb, and 
excellent food when fresh, but still better when it has been 
some time in salt. On which I must make this observation, 
that the fish of cold countries only take in salt easily, and re- 
tain in that state part of their flavour. It seems as if Nature 
intended thus to communicate to all the Nations of the Globe 
the abundance of the fisheries which issue from the frigid 

The western coast of America, in that same Latitude, is not 
less amply supplied with fish. " Along the whole sea-coast," 
says the Peruvian Garcillaso de la Vega* " from Arequipa to 

• History of the Incas, book v. rhap iii 


*' Tafapaca, a track of more than two hundred leagues in 
" length, they employ no other manure to dung the land, cx- 
" cept the excrement of certain fowls, called sea-sparrows, of 
" which there are flocks so numerous, as to exceed all belief. 
*' They inhabit the desert islands on the coast, and by the ac- 
" cumulation of their ordure, they whiten them to such a de- 
" gree, that at some distance they might be taken for mountains 
*' covered with snow. The Incas reserved to themselves the 
" right of disposing of those islands, as a royal boon to such and 
" such a favourite province." Now this dung was entirely the 
produce of the fishes on which those fowls constantly fed. 

" In other countries, on the same coast," says he, * " such as 
" that of Atica, of Atitipa, of Villacori, of Malla, and Chilca, 
" they dung the land with the heads of pilchers, which they sow 
*' there in great quantities. They put them in the ground at 
*' small intervals from each other, along with two or three grains 
*' of maize. At a particular season of the year the Sea throws 
" upon the shore such quantities of live pilchers, that they have 
*' an abundant supply for food and for manure, and this to such 
" a degree, that after these demands are satisfied, they could 
*' easily load whole ships with the overplus." 

It is obvious that the coast of Peru is nearly the boundary of 
the emigration of the pilchers which set out from the South 
Pole, as the coasts of the Black Sea are the boundary of that of 
the herrings which issue from the North Pole. The continua- 
tion and direction of these two bands, the pilchers of the South 
and the herrings of the North, are nearly of the same length, 
and their destinies are at last similar. It would appear as if 
certain Nereids were annually commissioned to conduct from 
the Poles those innumerable swarms of fishes, to furnish sub- 
sistence to the inhabitants of the temperate Zones ; and that, 
having arrived at the termination of their course, in the hot La- 
titudes, where fruits are produced abundantly, they empty the 
gleanings of their nets upon the shore. 

It will not be so easy a task, I confess, to refer to the benefi- 
cence of Nature the wars which animals wage with each other. 
Why should beasts .of prey exist ? Supposing me incapable of 
resolving this difficulty, Nature must not be accused of cruelty 

* Consult tke same Work. 

STUDY VI. 183 

because I am deficient in mental abilit)\ She has arranged 
what we do know with such consummate wisdom, that we are 
bound to give her credit for the same character of wisdom, in 
cases where we cannot find her out unto perfection. I will 
have the courage, however, to declare my opinion, and to offer 
a reply to this question ; and so much the rather, as it affords 
me an opportunity of presenting some observations which I con- 
sider as at least new, if not worthy of attention. 

First of all. Beasts of prey are necessarj'. What otherwise 
would become of the carcases of so many animals which perish 
both on the land and in the water, and which they would conse- 
quently poison with infection. Sev^eral species of carnivorous 
animals, it must be allowed, devour theijr prey while yet living. 
But who can tell whether in this they do not transgress the law of 
their nature ? Man knows Very little of his own history. How is 
it possible he should know that of the beasts ? Ctqjtain Cook ob- 
serv'ed, in a desert island of the Southern Ocean, that the sea- 
lions, the sea-calves, the white bears, the sots, the eagles, the 
vultures, lived in perfect concord, no one tribe giving the least 
disturbance to another. I have observed a similar good agree- 
ment among the fool and the frigat of the Island of Ascension. 
But, after all, we must not compliment them too highly on 
their moderation. It was merely an association of plunderers ; 
they lived peaceably together, that they might devour unmo- 
lested their common prey, the fishes, which they all gulped 
down alive. 

Let us revert to the great principles of Nature. She has 
made nothing in vain. She destines few animals to die of old 
age ; nay, I believe that she permits Man alone to complete his 
career of life, because his old age alone can be useful to his fel- 
low-creatures. To what purpose would serve among the brute 
creation grandsires destitute of reflection, to progeny brought 
into existence in the maturity of their experience ? On the other 
hand, what assistance could decrepit parents* find among chil- 
dren, which abandon them the instant they have learned to 
swim, fly, or walk ? Old age would be to them a burthen from 
which they are delivered by the ferocious animals. Besides, 
from their unobstructed generations would arise a posterits 
without end, M'hich the Globe is not sufficient to contain. The 


preservation of individuals would involve the extinction of the 

Animals might always live, I shall be told, in a proportion 
adapted to the places which they inhabit ; but in that case they 
must cease to multiply ; and from that moment farewel the 
loves, the nests, the alliances, the foresight, and all the harmo- 
nies which subsist among them. Every thing that is born is 
doomed to die. But Nature, in devoting them to death, takes 
from them that which could render the instant of it cruel. It 
is usually in the night-time, and in the hour of sleep, that they 
sink under the fangs and the teeth of their destroyers. Twenty 
strokes, sent home in one instant to the sources of life, afford 
no leisure to reflect that they are going to lose it. That fa- 
tal moment is not embittered to them by any of the feelings 
which render it so painful to most of the Human Race, regret 
for the past, and solicitude about futurity. Their unanxious 
spirits vanish into the shades of night, in the midst of a life of 
innocence, and frequently during the indulgence of the fond 
illusions of love. 

Unknown compensations may perhaps farther sweeten this 
last transition. I shall observe at least, as a circumstance de- 
serving the most attentive consideration, that the animal species, 
whose life is sacrificed to the support of that of others, such as 
that of insects, do not appear possessed of any sensibility. If 
tlie leg of a fly happens to be torn away, she goes and comes as 
if she had lost nothing ; the cutting off a limb so considerable is 
followed by no fainting, nor convulsion, nor scream, nor symp- 
tom of pain whatever. Cruel children amuse themselves with 
thrusting straws into their anus ; they rise into the air thus em- 
paled ; they Avalk about, and perform all their usual motions, 
without seeming to mind it. Others take lady -birds, tear off a 
large limb, run a pin through the nerves and cartilages of the 
thigh, and attach them with a slip of paper to a stick. These 
unfeeling insects fly humming round and round the stick un- 
weariedly, and without any appearance of suffering pain. Reau- 
mur one day cut off" the fleshy and muscular liorn of a large ca- 
terpillar, which continued to feed as if no mutilation had taken 
place. Is it possible to think that beings so tranquil in the hands 
of children and philosophers, endure any feeling of pain when 
they are gobbled down in the air by the birds ? 

STUDY VI. 185 

These obsen^ations might easily be extended much farther : 
particularly to that class of fishes which have neither bone nor 
blood, and of these consist the greatest number of the inhabi- 
tants of the Seas, and they appear to be equally void of sensi- 
bility. I have seen between the Tropics a tunny, from the nape 
of whose neck one of the sailors scooped out a large slice of the 
flesh with a stroke of the harpoon, which was forced backward 
to his head, who followed the ship for several weeks, and was 
outdone by no one of his companions either in speed or in frisk- 
iness. I have seen sharks, after being struck with musket bul- 
lets, return to bite at the hook from which they had just before 
escaped, with their mangled throat. 

We shall find besides a greater analogy between fishes and in- 
sects, if we consider that neither have bones nor blood ; that 
their flesh is impregnated with a glutinous liquid, and which 
likewise appears to be the same in both, from it's emitting the 
same odour when burnt ; that they do not respire by the mouth, 
but by the sides, inbccis by the tracheae, fishes by the gills ; that 
they have no auditory organ, but hear by means of the nervous 
impression made on their bodies by the commotion of the fluid 
clement in which they live ;* that they see all round the horizon 
from the disposition of their eyes ; that they equally run to the 
light ; that they discover the same avidity, and are for the most 

* This is not correct. There is reason to believe that every species offish 
and perhaps the greater number of the species of insects, do actually hear 
by means of true auditory organs. The organs of hearing in various fishes 
have been satisfactorily demonstrated by a number of eminent naturalists and 
anatomists; by Klein, Camper, Comparetti, Scarpa, Monro, John Hunter, 
&.C. In some of the families of fishes, the auditory organs are more, in others 
less, complex. This is not tlie proper place to treat minutely of their struc- 
ture; but one remarkable circumstance in regard to tlie :uiditory organs of 
fishes, deserves to be mentioned. The internal ear grows, as the fish in- 
creases in size ; and, of coui'se, " its magnitude is in the direct ratio of the 
bulk and age of the animal." This is not the case in the mammalia, in the 
l)irds, and in the animals called amphibia, by the naturalits. In regard to 
the vast class of insects, it will readily be confessed, that the organ of hear- 
ing in them is more uncertain, and indeed is far from being completely in- 
vestigated in any one species. Fabricius, Scarpa, Comparetti, and other 
• miuent naturalists, have written concerning the organ of hearing in the craw- 
fish and other species of the genus cancer. The anteniht, or feelers, ai-c not, 
as some ingenious authors have sujjposed, tlic organs of hearing in insects. — 

B. S. B 

Vol. I. A a 


part carnivorous ; that in both genera the female is larger than 
the male ; that these throw out their eggs to an infinite number 
without sitting on them : that most fishes pass on their birth 
through the state of insects, issuing from their eggs in form of 
worms, and even some in that of frogs, such as a species of fish 
in Surinam ; that both are cased in scales ; that many fishes are 
provided with beards and horns, like insects ; that both the one 
and the other contain, in their categories, an incredible variety 
of forms peculiar to themselves ; finally, that their constitutions, 
their metamorphoses, their manners, their fecundity, being the 
same, there is a powerful temptation to ascribe to these two 
numerous classes the same insensibility. 

As to animals which have blood, let Mallebranche say what he 
pleases, they are sensible.* They express a sense of pain by 
the same signs which we do. But Nature has fenced them with 
thick hides, with long hair, with a plumage, which protect them 
against external blows. Besides, they are little, if at all exposed 
to cruel treatment, except from the hands of bad men. 

Let us noAv proceed to consider the generation of animals. 
We have seen that the greatest and most numerous species of 
the Globe, in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, are produced 
in the North, independently of the heat of the Sun. Let us 
now enquire, whether the prolific power of fermentation be 
greater in the South. Certain Egyptians told Herodotus, that 
particular species of animals were formed of the fermented mires 
of the Ocean, and of the Nile. Whatever respect I have for 
the Ancients, I absolutely reject their authority in Physics. 
Most of their Philosophers have a sufficiently striking resem- 

* And let g'ood Saint-Pierre " say what he pleases," the animals without 
blood, or at least without red blood, are sensible also. This property of be- 
ing sensible, or in other words, the faculty of feeling-, belongs to all animals, 
as is most incontestibly shown by the numerous experiments of naturalists, 
especially within the last hundred years. Have not the nerves been demon- 
strated in snails, and an hundred other species of similar animals ? Are not 
the nerves the organs of feeling? Has Saint-Pierre, then, so completely closed 
his eyes against the conviction forced upon us by experiments, as not to per- 
ceive, that when we tread upon the worm, or tear off the leg of a fly, it feels 
as one of us would feel ? — Nor let it be said, that by thus conceding to these 
(seemingly contemptible) animals, the property of being sensible, we detract 
from the goodness or benevolence of the Creator. By tliis very property, 
these animals are rendered capable of a thousand pleasures and enjoyinents 

B. S. B. 

STUDY VI. isr 

blance to our own. They observed sparingly, and reasoned 
copiously. If some of them, in the view of speaking peace to 
voluptuous Princes, have advanced that every thing proceeded 
from corruption, and returned to corruption again ; others, more 
honest and sincere, have refuted them even in the earliest times. 
It is not only certain that corruption produces no one living 
body, but is fatal to all, especially to those which have blood, and 
chiefly to Man. No air is unwholesome but where there is 
corruption. How could such a principle have generated in ani- 
mals, feet provided with toes, nails, and claws ; skins clothed 
with so many sorts of hair and plumage ; jaws palisaded with 
teeth cut out in a form adapted, some for cutting and others for 
grinding ; heads adorned with eyes, and eyes furnished with lids 
to defend them from the Sun ? How could the principle of cor- 
ruption have collected those scattered members ; unite them by 
nerves and muscles ; support them by bony substances, fitted 
with pivots and hinges ; feed with them veins filled with a blood 
which circulates, whether the animal be in motion or at rest; 
cover them with skins so admirably provided with hairy furs, 
precisely adapted to the Climates which they inhabit ; after- 
wards make them move by the combined action of a heart and 
a brain, and give to all these machines, produced in the same 
place, and formed of the same slime, appetites and instincts so 
entirely different? How could it have inspired them with the 
sensation of themselves, and kindled in them the desire of re- 
producing themselves by any other method than that which 
originally gave them existence ? 

Corruption, so far fiom conferring life on them, must have 
deprived them of it, for it generates tubercles, inflames the eyes, 
dissolves the blood, and produces an infinite number of diseases 
in most animals which respire it's emanations.* The fermen- 

• Of all corruptions, that of the human flesh is most noxious. Of tliis a very 
siiig'ular instance is related by Garcillaso de-la Vega, in his History of the 
Civil Wars of the Spaniards in the Indies, vol. i. part ii. chap. xlii. He ob- 
serves, first, that the Indians of ti.e islands of Barlovento poison their arrows, 
by plung'ing' the points of them into dead bodies; and then adds, " I shall 
" relate what I myself saw happen in the case of one of the quarters of the 
" dead body of Carvajal, which was exposed on the great road toCollasuyu, 
" to the south of Cusco. We set out a walking- one Sundav, ten or twelve 
" school-fellows of us, all mongrels, that is, the progeny of Spanish men by 
" Indian women, the oldest not above twelve years of ape. Having observed. 


tation of any substance whatever could have formed no one ani- 
mal, nor even the egg from which it issued. We find in the 
dunghills of our great towns, where so many substances ferment, 
organic particles of every species ; entire bodies of animals, 
blood, plants, salts, oils, excrements, spirits, minerals, substances 

'■ as we went along in the open country, one of the quarters of Carvajul's 
" body, we took a fancy to go and look at it, and having- come up, we found 
" it was one of his thighs, the fat of which had dropped to tlie ground. The 
" flesh was greenish, and entirely corrupted. ^Vhile we were examining tliis 
" mournful spectacle, a forward boy chanced to say, I could wager no one 
" here dares to touch it ; another replied, he would. At last tlic stoutest of 
" all, whose name was 13ai-tholomew Mcndero, imagining that he was going 
" to perform an act of courage, plunged the thumb of his right hand into this 
" putrid limb, which it easily penetrated. This bold action astonished every 
" one to such a degi'ee, that we all run away from him for fear of infection, 
" calling out, ' O abominable ! Carvajal ivill make you pay dear for this rash- 
" ness.* He went, however, instantly to the brook, which was close to the 
" spot, washed his hand several times, nibbing it over with clay, and so rc- 
" turned home. Next day he came back to school, where he shewed us his 
" thumb, wliich was swollen prodigiously ; but towards evening the whole 
" hand had become inflamed up to the wrist ; and next day, which was 
" Tuesday, the arm had swelled up to the elbow, so that he was reduced to 
" the necessity of disclosing the case to his father. Professional men were 
" immediately called in, who liad the arm tightly bandaged above tlie swcl- 
" ling, and applied every remedy which art and experience could suggest as 
" a counter-poison. After all, notwithstanding, it nearly cost the patient his 
*' life; and he recovered not without suffering intolerable pain, after having 
" been for four months so enfeebled, as to be incapable of holding the pen." 
From this anecdote it may be concluded how dangerous the putrid emana- 
tions from oiu" church-yards must be to the inhabitants of cities. I'arish 
Churches in %yhich so many corpses are interred, become impregnated with 
an air so corrupted, especially in Spring, when the ground begins to grow 
warm, that I consider this as one of the chief sources of the small-pox, and 
of the putrid fevers which are prevalent at that season. An unsavoury smell 
then issues from it, which makes the stomach rise. I have felt this to an 
insufferable degree in some of |he principal Churches of Paris. This smell 
is extremely different from that produced by a crowd of living people, for we 
are affected with no such sensation in the Churches of Convents, where few 
only are interred. 

It would be a curious subject of enquiry to Anatomists, Win- the putre- 
faction of dead bodies should destroy the animal economy of most beings, 
while it makes no derangement in that of carnivorous animals. Many species 
of insects and fishes live on carrion. I remark that the gi-eatest part of these 
have no blood, which is the first fluid that corruption lays hold of, and that 
the aperture through which they breathe are not the same with those by 
which they take in their food. But these reasons, it must be allowed, are 
inapplicable to >-ultui-cs, ravens, and otiier birds of prey. 

STUDY VI. 189 

more heterogeneous, and more combined by Man in a state of 
society, than ever the waves of the Ocean accumulated and con- 
founded on it's shores : there was never found there, however, 
a single organized body. 

It must not be affirmed that the heat necessary to their ex- 
pansion is there wanting, for it exists in every possible degree, 
from ice up to fire. Salts crystallize in them, and sulphurs are 
formed. There was picked up in Paris itself, some years ago, 
sulphur formed by Nature in ancient dunghills of the time of 
Charles IX. We see every day that fermentation may be ex- 
cited in dung to such a degree as to catch fire. Nay it's mode- 
rate heat is so favourable to the expansion of germs, that it is 
employed for the hatching of chickens. But the combination of 
all these substances never produced any thing living or organ- 
ized. What do I say ? The first operations of Nature, which 
we wish to explain, are covered in so many mysteries, that an 
egg with an aperture ever so small loses it's prolific power. The 
slightest contact with the exterior air is sufficient to extinguish 
in it the radical principles of life. It is neither matter then nor 
degrees of heat which are wanting to Man, to imitate Nature 
in the pretended creation of beings ; and this power, ever young 
and active, has by no means wasted itself, as it is always exerting 
itself in their re-production ; a display of Omnipotence cquallv 
wonderful with that of conferring existence at the first. 

The wisdom with which she has settled their proportions is 
no less worthy of admiration. On a careful examination of 
animals, we shall find no one deficient in it's members, regard 
being had to it's manners and the situation in which it is des- 
tined to live. The large and long bill of the toucan, and his 
tongue formed like a feather, were necessary to a bird who 
hunts for insects scattered about over the humid sands of the 
American shores. It was needful tha't he should be provided 
at once with a long mattock wherewith to dig, with a large spoon 
to collect his food, and a tongue fringed with delicate nerves, to 
enjoy the relish of it. Long legs and a long neck were neces- 
sary to the heron, to the crane, to the flamingo, and other birds, 
which have to walk in marshy places, and to seek their prev 
under the water. Every animal has feet, and a throat, or a bill, 
formed in a most wonderful manner, to suit the soil which thev 
have to tread, and the food by which they are to be supported. 


From the different configurations of these, Naturalists derive 
the characters which distinguish beasts of prey from such as live 
on vegetable substances. 

These organs have never been wanting to the necessities 
of animals, and are themselves indelible as their instincts. I 
have seen far up in the country ducks propagated at a distance 
from water, for several generations, which nevertheless re- 
tained on their feet the broad membranes of their species, and 
which, on the approach of rain, clapped their wings, screamed 
aloud, called upon the clouds, and seemed to complain to Hea- 
ven of the injustice of Man, who had banished them from their 
element. No animal wants any one necessary member, or is en- 
cumbered with one that is superfluous. Some philosophers have 
considered the spurs appended to the heels of the hog as useless, 
because they do not bear upon the ground ; but this animal, 
destined to live in swampy places, where he delights to v; allow, 
and to make with his snout deep trenches in the mire, would 
frequently sink under the impulse of gluttony, had not Nature 
placed above his heels two prominent excrescences, which assist 
him in getting out again. The ox, who frequents the marshy 
banks of rivers, is provided with nearly similar weapons. The 
hippopotamus, who lives in the water, and upon the banks of 
the Nile, is furaished with a cloven foot, and above the pastern 
with two small horny substances, which bend backward as he 
walks, so that he leaves on the sand an impression which seems 
to have been made by the pressure of four paws. The descrip- 
tion of this amphibious animal may be seen toward the end of 
Dampier^s Voyages. 

How was it possible for enlightened men to misunderstand 
the use of these accessory members, the form of which is imi- 
tated by some of our country clowns in stilts ; which, from this 
very resemblance, they call hogs-feet^ and which they employ 
in wading through marshy ground r These same clowns have, 
in like manner, imitated that of the pointed and divergent spurs 
of the goat*s-foot, which assist them in scrambling over the 
rocks, in their pikes shod with two iron points ; contrived to 
prevent the backward motion of loaded carriages on the decliv- 
ity of mountains. 

Nature, who varies her means with the obstacles to be sur- 
mounted, has bestowed the appendix excrescences on the heel? 

STUDY VI. 191 

of the hog, for the same reason that she has clothed the rhino- 
ceros with a hide rolled up in several folds in the midst of the 
torrid Zone. This clumsy animal has the appearance of being 
invested with a three-fold manUe : but being destined to live in 
the miry morasses of India, where he grubs up with his homy 
snout the long roots of the bamboo, he would have been in 
danger of sinking from his enormous weight, had he not 
been endowed with the strange faculty of extending by inflation 
the multiplied folds of his skin, and of rendering himself lighter, 
by occupying a larger space. 

What to us appears at first sight a deficiency in certain ani- 
mals is, you may rest perfectly assured, a wonderful compensa- 
tion of Providence ; and it would be in many cases an exception 
from the general Laws of Nature, if she had any other than 
the utility and happiness of the beings which she has formed. 
Hence she has given to the elephant a proboscis, which serves 
him like a hand as he scrambles over the roughest mountains, 
where Tie delights to live, in picking up the grass of the field 
and foliage of the trees, which the thickness and inflexibility of 
his neck would not permit him otherwise to reach. 

She has infinitely varied among the animal creation the means 
of defence, as well as those of subsistence. It is impossible to 
suppose that those which move slowly or which scream violendy 
are in a state of habitual suffering : for how could a race of 
creatures always sickly perpetuate itself, nay, become one of the 
most universally diffused of the whole Globe ? The sluggard, or 
sloth, is found in Africa, in Asia, and in America. His tar- 
diness is no more a paralytic affection, than that of the turtle 
and of the snail. The cries which he utters when you go near 
him are not the cries of pain. But among animals, some being- 
destined to roam about over the face of the Earth, others to 
remain fixed on a particular post, thei; means of defence are 
varied with their manners. Some elude their enemies by flight ; 
others repel them by hissings, by hideous figures, by poisonous 
smells, or by lamentable cries. There are some which deceive 
the eye, such as the snail, which assumes the colour of the 
walls, or of the bark of trees, whither he flies for refuge ; 
others, by a magic altogether inconceivable, transform them- 
selves at pleasure into the colour of surrounding objects, as the 


Oh how steril is the imagination of Man compared to the 
intelligence of Nature ! He has produced no one thing, in any 
line M'hatever, of which he has not borrowed the model from 
her Works. Genius itself, about which such a noise is made, 
this creative genius, which our wits fondly imagine they brought 
into the world with them, and have brought to perfection in 
learned circles, or by the assistance of books, is neither less nor 
more than the art of observing. Man cannot forsake the path 
of Nature, even when he is determined to go wrong. We arc 
wise only with her wisdom : and we play the fool only in pro- 
portion as we attempt to derange her plans. 

The graver of Callot^ so prolific of monsters, never patched 
up so many frightful demons as the ill-assorted members of 
different animals, the beak of the owl, the jaws of the crocodile, 
the body of the horse, the wings of the bat, the fangs and the 
paws which he has united to the human figure, to render his 
contrasts more hideous. Our female friends too who sweetly 
capricious amuse theinselves with embroidering fancy-flowers 
on the variou,s articles of their dress, are reduced to the neces- 
sity of borrowing.their patterns from the garden. Examine on 
their gowns and handkerchiefs the sportive productions of their 
imagination : there you have the flower of the pink on the foliage 
of the myrtle ; roses on the stalk of the reed ; pomegranates in 
the place of ears of corn. Nature alone produces only rational 
harmonies; and assorts in both animals and plants none but 
parts adapted to the places, to the air, to the elements, to the 
uses for which she has destined them. Never was a race of 
monsters beheld issuing from the sublimity of her conceptions. 

I have frequently heard living monsters announced for exhi- 
bition at our fairs; but I never had the fortune to see a single 
one, whatever trouble I might take to that effect. One day a 
placard was displayed, at the fair of Saint Ovide, " a cow with 
three eyes, and a sheep with six feet." I had a curiosity to see 
those animals, and to examine into the use which they made of 
organs and members, to my apprehension entirely superfluous. 
How, said I to myself. Nature plant six legs under the body of 
a sheep, when four were amply sufficient to support it? At the 
same time I began to recollect that the fly, who is much lighter 
than the sheep, had six; and this reflection, I acknowledge, 
staggered me. But having one day observed a ily which had 

STUDY VI. 193 

alighted on the paper before me, I found she frequently em- 
ployed herself in alternately brushing her head and wings with 
the two fore and the two hinder feet. I then evidently perceived 
that she had occasion for six feet, in order to have the support 
of four, while the other two were employed to the brushing 
service, especially on a perpendicular plane. Having caught 
and examined her by the microscope, I discovered that the two 
middle feet had no brush, but that the other four had. I far- 
ther observed that her body was covered over with particles of 
dust, which adhere to it in the atmosphere through which she 
flies ; and that her brushes were double, furnished with fine 
hairs, between which she emitted and drew back at pleasure 
two claws, similar to those of a cat, but incomparably sharper. 
These claws enable the fly to lay hold of the most polished sur- 
faces, such as the glass of mirrors, along which you see them 
march upward and downward without sliding. 

I was very curious to see in what manner Nature had attach- 
ed two new legs to the body of a sheep, and how she had formed, 
in order to put them in motion, new nerves, new veins, and new 
muscles, with their insertions. The third eje of the cow per- 
plexed me still more. I had nothing for it then but, like other 
simpletons, to part with my money for the gratification of my 
curiosity. The people were coming out in crowds from the re- 
pository of those wonders, delighted and astonished with their 
penny-worth. At last I too had the satisfaction of contempla- 
ting the marvellous sight. The two superfluous legs of the sheep 
were nothing but two shrivelled pieces of skin cut out like 
thongs, and hanging down from the breast, but without touching 
the ground, and incapable of being of any use whatever to the 
poor animal. The pretended third eye of the cow was a kind 
of oval wound in the middle of the forehead, without orbit, 
without apple, without a lid, and without any membrane which 
presented one single organized part of an eye. I withdrew 
without examining whether these accidents were natural or ar- 
tificial, for in truth it was not worth the trouble. 

The monsters which are preserved in crystal globes filled 
with spirit of wine, such as pigs with the proboscis of an ele- 
phant ; children double bodied, or with two heads, which are 
exhibited in cabinets with a philosophic mysteriousness, prove 
much less a laboured production of Nature than the inteiTup- 
VoL. I. Bb 


tion of it. No one of those beings could possibly have attained 
a complete expansion : and so far from demonstrating that the 
intelligence which produced them had fallen into a blunder, 
they attest, on the contrary, the immutability of Supreme Wis- 
dom, which has rejected them from it's plan by refusing them 

There is a benignity in the conduct of Nature toward Man 
which challenges the highest admiration: it is this, that in de- 
fying him on the one hand to infringe the regularity of her laws, 
to gratify caprice ; on the other she frequently permits him to 
derange the course of some of them, to relieve his necessities. 
For instance, she connives at the production of the mule from 
the copulation of the ass and the mare, because that animal is 
80 serviceable in mountainous countries, but she positively for- 
bids the re-production to proceed, in order to preserve the pri- 
mitive species, which are of more general utility. 

It is easy to discern in most of her works these maternal 
condescensions, and, may I call them so? royal provisions. 
They manifest themselves particularly in the productions of the 
garden. We find them in those of our flowers which have a 
profusion of corollce^ as in the double rose, which is not repro- 
duced by seeds, and which for this reason certain Botanists 
have dared to brand with the name of monster ; though it be 
the finest of flowers in the estimation of all persons of taste and 
sensibility. Naturalists pretend that it deviated from the laws 
of Nature, because it scorned to conform to their Systems : as 
if the first of laws which governs the World had not for it's 
object the happiness of Man! But if roses and other flowers 
which have a superabundance of cQrollce* are monsters, fruits 
which have a superabundance of pulpy flesh and sugary pastes, 
of no use toward the expansion of their seeds, such as apples, 
pears, melons, and fruits which have no seeds at all, as the pine- 
apple, the banana, the bread-fruit, all these must likeAnse be 
monsters. The roots which become so plump in our kitchen- 
gardens, and which are converted into large balls, into succulent 
glands, into bulbs farinaceous, and of no effect toward the ex^ 
pansion of their stems, must forsooth be all monsters. 

* The author means the petals, or as Ihey are sometimes called by English 
writers, « the leaves of the flower,"— B. S. B, 

STUDY Vi. 195 

Nature feeds the human race in part only with this vegetable 
superabundance, and bestows it only as the reward of Industrj'. 
However fertile the soil may be, the vegetables of the same 
species with those which are produced in the garden degene- 
rate in the uncultivated plain, grow wild, and spend themselves 
in foliage and branches. Is it not therefore an instance of won- 
derful complaisance on the part of Nature that she should trans- 
form, under the hand of Man, into pleasant and wholesome ali- 
ment, the same juices which would be converted in the forest 
into lofty stems and tough roots ? Were this condescension 
withheld, in vain would man say to the sap of trees, you shall 
flow into the fruit, and you shall go no further. To no purpose 
would he in the most fertile region prune, crop, nip ; the al" 
mond-tree would refuse to cover it's nut with a fleshy melting 
pulp, like that of the peach. 

Nature from time to time makes Man a present of varieties 
both useful and agreeable, which she extracts from the same 
genus. All our fruit-trees come originally from the forest, 
and no one there re-pcrpctuates itself in it's species* The pear 
called Saint-Germain was found in the forest of that name, with 
it's well-known flavour. Nature culled it, like the other fruits 
of our orchards, from the table of the animal to serve it up on 
that of Man ; and that it might be impossible for us to doubt 
respecting her bounty and it's origin, it is her sovereign will 
that the seeds should re-produce crabs only. Ah ! if she were 
to suspend her particular laws of beneficence in the gardens of 
our miscreants, in order to establish in them her pretended ge- 
neral laws, what would be their astonishment to find nothing re- 
produced in their kitchen-gardens and orchards but some raiser- 
able wild carrots, pitiful dog-roses, harsh pears, and unsavoury 
fruits of every sort, such as she produces on the mountains for 
the coarse palate of the wild boar! They would in truth find 
Stems of "trees lofty and vigorous. Their orchards would be 
doubled in size, and the crops reduced to one half. 

The same metamorphosis would take place in the animal of 
their farm-yards. The hen, which lays eggs much too large in 
proportion to her size, and for nine months uninterruptedly, 
contrary to all the laws of incubation among the feathered race, 
would then fall back into the general order, and would produce 
at farthest twenty eggs in the course of a year. The hog would 


in like manner lose his superfluous fat. The cow, which yields 
in the rich pastures of Normandy up to twenty-four quarts of 
milk a day, would give no more than a bare sufficiency to suckle 
her calf. 

To this it is replied, that this profusion of eggs, of fat, and 
of cream from our domestic animals, is the effect of their co- 
pious feeding. But neither does the mare give as much milk 
as the cow, nor does the duck lay as many eggs as the hen, nor 
does the ass clothe himself with fat like the hog, though these 
animals all feed as plentifully the one as the other. Besides 
the mare, the she-goat, the ewe, the she-ass, have only two 
teats, whereas, the cow has four. 

The cow in this respect deviates in a very remarkable manner 
from the general laws of Nature; who has adjusted in ever}- 
animtil species the number of teats in the mother to that of the 
5 oung ; she, however, is furnished with four paps, though she 
produces but one calf, and very rai-ely two ; because the two 
supernumeraries were destined to be nurses to the Human 
Race. The sow, it is granted, has only twelve teats, though 
she is intended to bring up sometimes a litter of fifteen or more. 
Here the proportion seems defective. But if the first has more 
teats than are requisite to the number of her family, and the 
second too few for her's, it is because the one is ordained to 
present Man with the surplus of her milk, and the other with 
that of her brood. In all countries pork is the poor man's 
meat, unless religion, as in Turkey, or political considerations, 
as in the islands of the South Sea, deprive him of the benefits 
of this gift of Nature. I shall observe with Pliny, that of all 
flesh it is by far the most savour)-. There may be distinguished 
in it, says he, up to fifty different relishes. It is employed in 
the kitchens of the rich to give flavour to every species of ali- 
ment. In every country, I repeat it, that which Is best is al- 
ways most common. 

Is it not passing strange that, when so many plants and ani- 
mals exhibit proportions so beautiful, adaptations so wonderful 
to our necessities, and proofs so evident of a Divine Benevo- 
lence, we should set about collecting shapeless abortions, pigs 
with a long proboscis, as if our yards teemed with young ele- 
phants, and ceremoniously arrange them in oui- cabinets, de- 
signed to exhibit a display of Nature? Those v/ho preserve 


STUDY VI. 197 

them as invaluable curiosities, and deduce from them conse- 
quences and doubts respecting the intelligence of their Author, 
do they not discover as much want of taste, and act as unfairly, 
as one who should go into the workshop of a Founder and pick 
up the figures which had been accidentally mutilated, the bub- 
blings over of the melting-pot, and the mere nietallic moulds 
which might lie scattered about, and triumphantly display them 
as a proof of the Artist's blundering ignorance ? 

The Ancients burnt monsters, the Modems preserve them 
in spirit of wine. They resemble those ungracious children 
who watch their mother in the hope of surprizing her in a 
fault, that they may arrogate to themselves a right to do what 
they please. Oh ! if the Earth were indeed abandoned to dis- 
order, and that after an infinity of combinations, there should 
at last appear amidst the monsters which covered it a single 
body well proportioned and adapted to the necessities of Man, 
what a source of satisfaction would it be to creatures at once 
sensible and unhappy, to catch but a glimmering of an Ixtf.lli- 
c;ence somewhere who took an interest in their dcstinv ? 



THE arguments deduced from the varieties of the Human 
Race, and from the evils accumulated by the hand of Nature, 
by Governments, and by Religions, on the head of Man, attempt 
to demonstrate that men have neither the same origin nor any 
natural superiority above the beasts ; that their virtues are des- 
titute of all prospect of reward, and that no Providence watches 
over their necessities, to supply them. 

We shall enquire into those evils, one after another, begin- 
ning with such as are imputed to Nature ; the necessity and 
utility of which we shall endeavour to make appear ; and shall 
afterwards demonstrate that political evils are to be ascribed en- 
tirely to deviations from the law of Nature, and that they con- 
stitute themselves a proof of the existence of a Providence. 

Our discussion of this interesting subject shall commence with 
a reply to the objections founded on the varieties of the human 
species. We pretend not to deny that there are men black and 
white, copper-coloured and pale. Some have a beard, others 
little, if any. But these pretended characters are accidents 
merely, as has been already shewn. Horses, white, bay or black, 
with frizzled hair, as those of Tartary, or with sleek smooth 
hair, as those of Naples, are unquestionably animals of the same 
species. The Albinos^ or white negroes, are a species of Le- 
pers ; and no more form a particular race of Negroes, than per- 
sons with us who have been marked by the small-pox form a 
race of spotted Europeans. 

Though it does not enter into my plan here to detail all the 
natural adaptations which may be opposed to the accusations of 
our wretched systems of Physics, and though I have reserved, 
in the prosecution of this undertaking, some Studies expressly 
devoted to this object, as far as my poor ability enables me ; I 
shall however by the way obser\^e, that the black colour is a 
blessing of Providence to the inhabitants of tropical countries. 
WTiite reflects the rays of the Sun, and black absorbs them. 


The first accordingly redoubles his heat, and the second weakens 
it. Experience demonstrates this in a thousand different ways. 
Nature has employed, among other means, the opposite effects 
of these colours for multiplying or weakening on the Earth the 
heat of the orb of day. The farther you advance toward the 
South, the blacker are men and animals ; and the farther you 
proceed northward, the whiter is the colour of both the one and 
the other. Nay, when the Sun withdraws from the northern 
regions, many animals which were there in Summer, of different 
colours, begin to whiten ; such as squirrels, wolves, hares : and 
those of the southern regions, to which he is approaching, then 
clothe themselves with tints deeper and more absorbent ; such 
are, in the feathery race, the widoxv, the cardinal, &c. which ex- 
nibit much more brilliant colouring when the Sun approaches 
the Line, than when he is retiring from it. It is therefore by 
adaptations of Climate that Nature has made the inhabitants of 
the Torrid Zone black, as she has whitened those of the Icy 
Zones. She has given besides another preservative against the 
heat to the Negroes who inhabit Africa, which is the hottest 
part of the Globe, principally by reason of that broad belt of 
sand which crosses it, and whose utility we have already indi- 
cated. She has covered the heads of those careless and unin- 
dustrious tribes with a fleece more crisp than a tissue of wool, 
which effectually shelters it from the burning heat of the Sun. 
They are so perfectly sensible of it's accommodation to this pur- 
pose, that they never employ a substitute head-dress ; and there 
is no description of Mankind among whom artificial coverings, 
as bonnets, turbans, hats, &c. are more rare, than among the 
Negroes. They use those of foreign nations merely as objects 
of vanity and luxury, and I do not know of any one that is pe- 
culiar to their Nation. The inhabitants of the peninsula of 
India are as black as they ; but their turbans communicate to 
the hair, which but for tlieir head-dress would perhaps be friz- 
zled, the facility of growing and expanding. 

The American tribes which inhabit under the Line arc not 
Mhck, it must be admitted; they are simply copper-coloured. I 
ascribe this weakening of the black tint to several causes pecu-. 
liar to their countr)'. The first is, the universal practice of rub- 
l)ing themselves over with roucoic (a kind of sweet-scented paste) 
which preser\'cs the surface of the skin from the too vehement 


impression of the Sun. Secondly they inhabit a country clothed 
with forests, and crossed by the greatest river in the World, 
which covers it with vapours. Thirdly, their territory rises in- 
sensibly from the shores of Brasil, up to the mountains of Peru j 
Avhich, giving it a greater elevation in the Atmosphere, procures 
for it likewise a greater degree of coolness. Fourthly, in a 
word, the East- winds, which blow there incessantly night and 
day, are always contributing to that coolness. 

Finally, the colour of all those nations is so much the effect 
of Climate, that the descendants of Europeans settled there 
assume the black tint after the lapse of some generations. This 
is evidently perceptible in India, in the posterity of the Moguls, 
tribes derived from the extremity of Asia, whose name signifies 
7ohites, and who are this day as black as the Nations which 
they have conquered. 

Tallness of stature no more characterizes species, be the ge- 
nus what it may, than difference of colour. A dwarf and a 
large apple-tree proceed from the same grafts. Nature however 
has rendered it invariable in the Human Species alone, because 
variety of magnitude would ha^"e destroyed, in the physical or- 
der, the proportions of Man with the universality of her pro- 
ductions, and because it would have involved in the moral order 
consequences still more dangerous, by subjecting beyond re- 
covery the smaller species of mankind to the greater. 

There are no races of dwarfs nor of giants. Those who are 
exhibited at fairs are little men contracted, or tall over-gro\vn 
fellows, without proportion and without vigour. They re-pro- 
duce not themselves either in miniature or magnitude, whatever 
pains may have been taken by certain Princes to procure a dis- 
tinct propag-ation ; among others by the late King of Prussia, 
Frederick II. Besides, Do sufficient varieties of proportion of 
the Human Species issue from the hand of Nature to merit the 
distinctive appellations of dwarfs and giants ? Is there between 
any two of them so great a difference as between a little Sardi- 
nian poney and a huge Brabant horse ; as between a common 
spaniel and one of the large Danish dogs which run before our 
coaches ? 

All nations have been from the beginning, and still are, with 
very little difference and very few exceptions, of the same sta- 
ture. I have seen Egyptian Mummies, and the bodies of the 


Guanchea* of the Canary' islands wrapped up in their skins. I 
have seen in Malta, in a tomb hewn out of ttie solid rock, the 
skeleton of a Carthaginian, all the bones of which were violet- 
coloured, and which had perhaps lain there from the days of 
Queen Dido. All these bodies were of the common size. En- 
lightened and sober-minded Travellers have reduced to a stature 
hardly exceeding our own the pretended gigantic form of the 
Patagonians.f I am aware that I have elsewhere alleged these 
same reasons j but it is impossible to repeat them too frequent- 
ly, because they overturn beyond the possibility of contradiction 
the pretended influences of Climate, which are became the prin- 
ciples of our Physics, and what is still worse, of our Morality. 

There were formerly, we are told, real giants. The thing is 
possible ; but this truth is become to us inconceivable, like all 
others of which Nature no longer furnishes any testimony. If 

* GuANCHES arc the skeletons covered with the skin of the original inha- 
bitants of the Canary Islands. The body of the Guancho was deposited in a 
cavity adapted to it's size, hewn out of the rock. The stone being of a po- 
rous nature, the animal juices were absorbed or filtered through, and the 
solid parts with their natural skinny mantle became indurated by a process of 
natural embalming, to such a degree as to resist the future assaults of time. 
They arc still exhibited by the natives of those islands to strai gers who visit 
tliem, with emotions of pride and veneration ; as the images of their illustri- 
ous ancestors wei'e ostentatiously displayed by the Patrician families of liomc. 
Avarice has, however, infected the Canaries, as well as more enlightened isl- 
ands ; and families have been prevailed on to part with their Guanches to the 
Museums of European Collectors of Curiosities, for a little ready money, or 
in consideration of a large order of wines. 

Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, 

Auri sacra fames ! 

in plain English, The kv3 of money will make a man sell Ms father. — H. II. 

•f Oa the subject of the Patagonians, the reader may peruse, with much sa- 
tisfaction, a paper by my late excellent friend Mr. Thomas Pennant, the great 
British naturalist of our times. Mr. Falkner, " an ancient Jesuit, who had 
passed thirty -eight years of his life in the southern part of South-America, 
between the rU'er La Plata and the straits of Magellan," communicated to 
Mr. Pennant the most interesting portion of information contained in this pa- 
per. Tlic rcmiuks which Falkner made on the size of the Patagonians, were 
a.s follows : "that the tallest, which he measured in the same manner that 
Mr. IKron did, was seven feet eight inches high ; that the common height or 
middle size, was six feet; that there were numbers that were even shorter; 
and that tlie tallest women did not exceed six feet." Thvis it appears, that 
Saint-Pienc's observation is correct. — B. S. B. 

Vol. I. C c 


Polyphemuses lofty as a tower ever existed, every step they 
took in walking must in most soils have sunk into the ground. 
How could their long and clumsy fingers have milked the little 
she-goats, reaped the corn, mowed down the grass, picked the 
fruits of the orchard ? The greatest part of our aliments would 
escape their eyes as well as their hands. 

On the other hand, had there been generations of pigmies, 
how could they have levelled the forests to make way for the 
cultivation of the earth ? They would have lost themselves 
among the rushes. Every brook would have been to them a 
river, and every pebble a rock. The birds of prey would have 
carried them off in their talons, unless they made war on their 
eggs, as Homer represents his pigmy race engaged in Avar with 
the eggs of cranes. 

On either of these suppositions all the relations of natural 
order are bui*st asunder, and such discords necessarily involve 
the utter destruction of all social order. Suppose a nation of 
giants to exist possessed of our industry, and instigated by our 
ferocious passions : let us place at the head of it a Tamerlane^ 
and see what would become of our fortifications and of our 
armies before their artillery and their bayonets. 

As much as Nature has affected variety in the species of Ani- 
mals of the same genus, though they were destined to inhabit 
the same regions, and to subsist on the same aliments, so much 
has she studied uniformity in the production of the Human 
Species, notwithstanding the difference of Climates and of food. 
The accidental prolongation of the coccyx in some human indi- 
viduals has been mistaken for a natural character, and a new 
species of men with tails has been grafted on a principle so 
flimsy. Man may degrade himself to the level of the beast by 
the indulgence of brutal appetite ; but never was his noble form 
dishonoured by the tail, the forked feet, and the horns of the 
brute. In vain is the attempt made to trace an approximation of 
Man toward the class of mere animals by insensible transitions. 

Were there in truth any of the human race in animal forms, 
or any animal endowed with human reason, they would be pub- 
licly exhibited. We should have them all over Europe, espe- 
cially in times like these, when the whole Globe is pervaded 
and ransacked by so many enlightened TraAellers; and when, I do 
not say Princes, but puppet-players import alive in our fairs the- 


^chY^i so wild, the elephant so lumpish, tigers, lions, white 
bears, nay up to crocodiles ; which have all been presented to 
public inspection in London. 

Vain is the attempt to establish analogies between the she 
orang-outang, from the situation and configuration of the bosom, 
from the periodical sexual purgations, from the attitude, and 
even from the appearance of modesty. Though the female 
orang-outang passes her life in the woods, Allegram surely, as 
has been observed, never could have modelled after her his 
statue of Diana which is shewn at Lucienne. There is a much 
gi-eater difference still between the Reason of Man and that of 
beasts, than there is between their forms ; and that man's un- 
derstanding must have been strangely perverted who could ad- 
vance, as a celebrated Author has done, that there is a gi'eater 
distance between the understanding of Nexvton and that of such 
or such a man, than between the understanding of that man 
and the instinct of an animal. As we have already said, the 
dullest of Mankind can learn the use of fire, and the practice of 
agriculture, of which the most intelligent of animals is abso- 
lutely incapable ; but what I have not yet said, the simple use 
of fire and the practice of agriculture are far preferable to all 
Ntnvtori's discoveries. 

Agriculture is the art of Nature, and fire is her primary 
agent. From experience we are assured that men have ac- 
quired by means of this element and of this art a plenitude of 
intelligence, of which all their other combinations, I venture to 
affirm, are merely consequences. Our Sciences and Arts are 
derived for the greatest part from these two sources, and they 
do not constitute a difference more real between the understand- 
ing of one man and another, than there is between the dress and 
furniture of Europeans and those of Savages. As they are per- 
fectly adapted to the necessities of the one and the other, they 
establish no real difference between the understandings which 
contrived them. The importance which wx assign to our talents 
proceeds not from their utility but from our pride. We should 
take a material step towards it's humiliation, did we consider 
that the animals which have no skill in agriculture, and know 
not the use of fire, attain to the greatest part of the objects of 
our Arts and Sciences, and even surpass them. 


I say nothing of those which build, which spin, which manu- 
facture paper, cloth, hives, and \\'hich practise a multitude of 
other trades of which we have no knowledge. But the torpedo 
defended himself from his enemies by means of the electric 
shock, before Academies thought of making experiments in 
electricity ; and the limpet understood the power of the pres- 
sure of the air, and attached itself to the rocks, by forming the 
vacuum with it's pyramidical shell, long before the air-pump was 
set a going. The quails which annually take their departure 
from Europe on their way to Africa have such a perfect know- 
ledge of the autumnal Equinox, that the day of their arrival in 
Malta, where they rest for twenty-four hours, is marked on the 
almanacks of that island about the 22d of September, and varies 
every year as the Equinox. The swan and wild duck have an 
accurate knowledge of the Latitude where they ought to stop, 
when every year they re -ascend in Spring to the extremities of 
the North, and they can find out without the help of compass 
or octant the spot where the year before they made their nests. 
The frigat which flies from East to West between the Tropics, 
over vast Oceans interrupted by no Land, and which regains 
at night at the distance of many hundred leagues the rock 
hardly emerging out of the water which he left in the morning, 
possesses means of ascertaining his Longitude hitherto un- 
known to our nwst ingenious Astronomers. 

Man, it has been said, owes his intelligence to his hands : 
but the monkey, the declared enemy of all industry, has hands 
too. The sluggard or sloth likewise has hands, and they ought 
to have suggested to him the propriety of fortifying himself: 
of digging at least a retreat in the earth for himself and for his 
posterity, exposed as they are to a thousand accidents by the 
slo\vness of their progression. There are animals in abundance 
furnished with tools much more ingenious than hands, and 
which are not for all that a whit more intelligent. The gnat is 
furnished with a proboscis, wliich is at once an awl proper for 
piercing the flesh of animals, and a pump by which it sucks out 
their blood. This proboscis contains besides a long saw, with 
which it opens the small blood vessels at the bottom of the 
wound which it has made. He is likewise provided with wings 
to transport him wherever he pleases ; a corslet of eyes stud- 
ded round his little head, to see all the objects about him in 


every direction ; talons so sharp, that he can walk on polished 
glass in a perpendicular direction ; feet supplied with brushes 
for cleansing himself; a plume of feathers on his forehead; 
and an instrument answering the purpose of a trumpet to pro- 
claim his triumphs. He is an inhabitant of the Air, the Earth, 
and the Water, where he is bom in form of a worm, and where 
before he expires the eggs which are to produce a future gene- 
ration are deposited. 

With all these advantages he frequently falls a prey to in- 
sects smaller and of a much inferior organization. The ant 
which creeps only, and is furnished with no weapon except 
pincers, is formidable not to him only but to animals of a much 
larger size, and even to quadrupeds. She knows what the uni- 
ted force of a multitude is capable of effecting ; she forms re- 
publics : she lays up store of provisions ; she builds subterra- 
neous cities ; she forms her attacks in regular military array ; 
she advances in columns, and sometimes constrains Man him- 
self in hot countries to surrender his habitation to her. 

So far is the intelligence of any one animal from depending 
on the structure of it's limbs, that their perfection is frequently 
on the contrary in the inverse ratio of it's sagacity, and appears 
to be a kind compensation of Nature to make up a defect. To 
ascribe the intelligence of Man to his hands, is to deduce the 
cause from the means, and talent from the tool with which it 
works. It is just as if I were to say that Le Sueur is indebted 
for the happy native graces of his pictures to a pencil of sable's 
hair ; and that Virgil owes all the harmony of his verses to a 
feather of the swan of Mantua. 

It is still more extravagant to maintain that human reason de- 
pends on Climate, because there are sortie shades of variety in 
manners and customs. The Turks cover their heads with 
Turl^ans, and we cover ours with hats ; they wear long flowing 
robes, and we dress in coats with short skirts. In Portugal, 
says Montague^ they drink off the sediment of wines, we throw 
it away. Other examples which I could quote are of similar 
importance. To all this I answer, that we would act as these 
people if we were in their country ; and that they would act as 
we do were thev in ours. 

Turbans and flowing robes are adapted to hot countries, 
where the head and body stand in need of being cooled, by in- 


closing in the covering of both a greater mass of air. From 
this necessity has arisen the use of turbans among the Turks, 
the Persians, and Indians, of the mitres of the Arabians, of the 
bonnets like a sugar-loaf of the Chinese and Siamese, and that 
of wide and flowing robes worn by most of the Nations of the 
South. From a contrary necessity the Nations of the North, 
as the Polanders, the Russians, the Tartars, wear furred caps 
and close garments. We are obliged to have in our rainy Cli- 
mates three aqueducts upon our head, and garments shortened, 
because of the dirt. The Portuguese drink the sediment of 
wine ; and so would we do with the wines of Portugal ; for in 
sweet wines, as those of hot countries, the most sugary particles 
are at the bottom of the cask ; and in ours, which are sprightly, 
nothing is at the bottom but mere dregs, the best is uppermost. 
I have seen in Poland, where they drink great quantities of the 
wines of Hungary, the bottom of the bottle presented as a mark 
of preference. Thus the very varieties of national customs 
prove the consistency of human reason. 

Climate has no greater influence in changing human morality, 
which is reason in perfection. I admit at the same time that 
extreme heat and cold produce an eflFect on the passions. I 
have even remarked that the hottest days of Summer and the 
coldest of Winter were actually the seasons of the year when 
most crimes v/ere committed. The dog-days, say the vulgar, 
is a season of calamity. I could say as much of the month of 
Januaiy. I believe it must have been in conformity to these 
observations that ancient Legislators had estaljiished, for that 
critical period, festivals designed to dissipate the melancholy of 
Mankind, such as the feast of Saturn among the Romans, and 
the feast of Kings* among the Gauls. In each Nation the fes- 
tival was adapted to the public taste ; among the Romans it pre- 
sented the images of a republic ; among our ancestors those of 

*Thc Feast of Kings, I apprehend, is coeval with the Christian Era, and 
had it's origin in the star-directed visit of tlie Eastern Mag-i to Bethlehem of 
Juduh, recorded in the beginning of the second cliapter of the Gospel acc.or- 
ding to St. Matthew. We can hardly suppose the ancienx Gatils so extremely 
attached to irregular and unsteady Monarcliy, as to institute and celebrate 
annual feasts in honour of it. . Whatcvcv may be in this, modern Gauls can 
say of the political body what the Mcdncin inaJgre lid ofMoliere says respect- 
ing the natural body : Jl'e have changed all that.— ii. H. 


But I beg leave likewise to remark that those seasons fertile 
in crimes, are the seasons too of the most splendid actions. 
The effervescence of season acts on our senses like that of wine. 
It produces in us an extraordinary impulsion, but indifferently 
to good and to evil. Besides Nature has implanted in our soul 
two powers, which ever balance each other m just proportion. 
When the physical sense, Love, debases us, the moral senti- 
ment, Ambition, raises us up again. The equilibrium necessary 
to the empire of Virtue still subsists, and it is never totally 
lost, except in persons with whom it has been destroyed by the 
habits of society, and more frequently still by those of education. 
In that case the predominant passion having no longer any coun- 
terpoise, assumes the command of all our faculties ; but this is 
the fault of societ}-, which undergoes the punishment of it, and 
not that of Nature. 

I remark however that these same seasons exert their influ- 
ence on the passions of Man, by acting only on his moral and 
not on his physical principle. Though this reflection has some- 
thing of the air of paradox, I shall endeavour to support it by a 
very remarkable observation. If the heat of Climate could act 
on the human body, it assuredly would be when the fetus is in 
the womb : for it then acts on that of all animals, whose ex- 
pansion it accelerates. Father du Tcrtre^ in his excellent His- 
tory of the Antilles, says, that in those islands the period of 
gestation of all European animals is shorter than in temperate 
Climates ; and that the hen's eggs are not longer in hatching 
than the seed of the orange in bursting their shell, twenty-three 
days. Pliny had observed that in Italy they hatch in nineteen 
days in Summer, and in twenty-five in Winter. 

In every country the temperature of Climate hastens or re- 
tards the expansion of all plants and the gestation of all animals, 
the Human Race excepted; let this be carefully remarked. 
*' In the Antilles' islands," says Father du Tertrc, " the white 
" women and the negresses go with child nine months, as in 
" France." I have made the same remark in all the countries 
through which I have travelled, in the Isle of France, under 
the Tropic of Capricorn, and in tlie extremitv of Russian Fin- 
land. This observation is of ccrsiderable importance. It de- 
monstrates that tlie body of Man is not subjected in this respect 
to the same laws with other animals. It manifests a moral 


intention in Nature to preserve an equilibrium in the population 
of Nations, which would have been deranged had the pregnan- 
cy of the woman been of shorter duration in hot countries than 
in cold. This intention is farther manifested in the admirable 
proportion she maintains in the production of the two sexes, so 
nearly equal in number, and in the very difference which we 
find of one country from another between the number of males 
and females : for it is compensated from North to South in such 
a manner, that if there be rather more women born to the South 
there are rather more men born to the North ; as if Nature meant 
to attract and unite Nations the most remote from each other by 
means of intermarriages. 

Climate has an influence on morality, but by no means deter- 
mines it ; and though this supposed determination may be con- 
sidered in many modern Books as the fundamental basis of the 
Legislation of the Nations, there is no one philosophical opinion 
more completely refuted by historic testimony. " Liberty," say 
they, " has found her asylum in the lofty mountains ; from the 
" North it was that the haughty conquerors of the World issued 
*' forth. In the southern plains of Asia, on the contrary, reign 
" despotism, slavery, and all the political and moral vices which 
" may be traced up to the loss of liberty." 

It seems then we must go and regulate by our barometers, 
and thermometers the virtues and the happiness of Nations ! 
There is no necessity to leave Europe in order to find a mul- 
titude of monarchical mountains, such as those of Savoy, a part 
of the Alps, of the Appenines, and the whole of the Pyreneans. 
We shall see on the contrary many republics in plains, such as 
those of Holland, of Venice, of Poland, and even of England, 
Besides, each of those territories has by turns made trial of 
different sorts of government. Neither cold nor ruggedness of 
soil inspire men with the energy of liberty, and still less with 
the unjust ambition of encroaching on that of others. The 
peasants of Russia, of Poland, and of the cold mountain^ of 
Bohemia, have been slaves for many ages past ; whereas the 
Angrias and the Marattahs are free men and tyrants in the 
South of India. There are several republics on the northern 
coast of Africa where it is excessively hot. The Turks, who 
have laid hold of the finest provinces of Europe, issued from 
the mild Climate of Asia, The timiditv of the Siamese and of 


most Asiatics has been quoted ; but it is to be imputed in those 
Nations to the muhitude of their tyrants rather than to the heat 
of their countries. The Macassars, who inhabit the island of 
Celebes situated almost under the Line, are possessed of a cou- 
rage so intrepid, as the gallant Count Forbin relates, that a 
small number of them armed with poniards only, put to flight 
the whole force under his command at Bancock, consisting of 
Siamese and French, though the former were very numerous, 
and the others armed with muskets and bayonets. 

If from courage we make the transition to love, we shall find 
that Climate has no more a determining power over Man in the 
one case than in the other. I might refer myself for pt-oof of 
the excesses of this passion to the testimony of travellers, to 
ascertain which has the superiority in this respect, the Nations 
of the South or those of the North. In all countries love is a 
torrid zone to the heart of Man. I must observe that these ap- 
propriations of Love to the Nations of the South, and of Cou- 
rage to the Nations of the North, have been imagined by our 
Philosophers as effects of Climate applicable only to foreign 
nations : for they unite these two qualities, as effects of the 
same temperament, in those of our heroes to whom they mean 
to pay their court. According to them, a Frenchman great in 
feats of love is likewise great in feats of war ; but this does not 
hold as to other Nations. An Asiatic with his seraglio is an 
effeminate coward ; and a Russian, or any other soldier of the 
North, whose Courts give pensions, is a secon^i Mars. But all 
these distinctions of temperament, founded on Climate and so 
injurious to Mankind, vanish into air before this simple ques- 
tion ; Are the turtle-doves of Russia less amorous than those 
of Asia ; and are the tigers of Asia less ferocious than the white 
bears of Nova Zembla ? 

Without going to seek among men objects of comparison and 
contrast from difference of place, we shall find great diversity 
in manners, in opinions, in habiliments, nay in physiognomy, be- 
tween an opera-actor and a capuchin-friar, than there is between 
a Swede and a Chinese. What a contrast is the talkative, flatter- 
ing deceitful Greek, so fondly attached to life, to the silent, state- 
ly, honest Turk, ever devoted to death ! These men, so very op- 
posite, are bom however in the same cities, breathe the sarrie 
air, live on the same food. Their extraction, we shall be told. 

Vol. I. D d 


is not the same ; for pride among us ascribes a mighty influ" 
ence to the power of blood. But the greatest part of those Ja- 
nissaries, so formidable to the cowardly Greeks, are frequently 
their own children, whom they are obliged to give in tribute, 
and who pass by a regular process in this first corps of the Ot- 
toman soldier}'. The courtezans of India so voluptuous, and it's 
penitents so austere, are they not of the same Nation, and in 
many cases of the same family ? 

I beg leave to ask, in what instance was an inclination to vice 
or virtue known to be communicated with the blood ? Pompeijy 
so noted for his generosity, was the son of Straboy infamously 
notorious to the Roman people for his avarice. The cruel Do- 
viitian was brother to the gracious Titus. Caligula and Agrip- 
pina^ the mother of Ntro^ were indeed brother and sister ; but 
they were the children of Germanicus^ the darling hope of Rome. 
The barbarous Commodusy was son to the divine Marcus Aure- 
lius. "What a difference is frequently observable in the same 
man between his youth and his mature age ; between Nero, 
saluted ^ the Father of his country when he mounted the 
throne ; and Nero^ execrated as it's avowed enemy before his 
death : between Titus^ stigmatized with the name of a second 
Nero in his youth, and Titus at his death, embalmed with the 
tears of the Senate of the Roman people and of strangers ; and 
transmitted unanimously to posterity as the delight of mankind? 

It is not Climate then which regulates the morality of Man ; 
it is opinion, it is education ; and such is their power, that 
they triumph not only over latitudes, but even over tempera- 
ment. Cesar^ so ambitious, so dissolute ; and Cato^ so tem- 
perate and virtuous, were both of a sickly constitution. Place, 
Climate, Nation, Family, Temperament, no one of these, and 
in no part of the World, determine men to vice or to virtue. 
They are every where free to choose. 

Before we take into consideration the evils which men bring 
upon themselves, let us attend to those which are inflicted by 
the hand of Nature. It is demanded, Why should beasts of 
prey exist ? They are absolutely necessary. But for them the 
Earth would be infested with cadaverous substances. There 
perishes annually of a natural death the twentieth part at least 
of quadrupeds, the tenth part of fowls, and an infinite number 
of insects, most of the species of which live only one year. 


Nay, there are insects whose life is contracted to a few hours, 
such as the ephemera. 

As the rains convey all these spoils of the land to the rivers, 
and thence to the Seas, it is accordingly on their shores that 
Nature has collected the animals which are destined to con- 
sume them. Most of the ferocious animals descend by night 
from the mountains, to hunt for their prey in this direction ; 
there are even several classes created expressly for such situa- 
tions ; as the whole amphibious race ; for example, the white 
bear, the otter, the crocodile. It is in hot countries especially, 
where the effects of corruption are most rapid and most dan- 
gerous, that Nature has multiplied carnivorous animals. Tribes 
of lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, civet-cats, ounces, jackals, 
hyenas, condors, &c. resort thither to reinforce those of wolves, 
foxes, martens, otters, vultures, crows, &c. Legions of vora- 
cious crabs are nestled in their sands ; the caimans and the 
crocodiles lie in ambush among their reeds ; shell-fish of innu- 
merable species armed with utensils fit for sucking, piercing, 
filing, bruising, roughen the face of the rocks and pave the 
borders of their seas ; clouds of sea-fowls hover with a loud 
noise over their shallows, or sail round and round at the dis- 
cretion of the waves in quest of food ; the lampre}-, the becune, 
the carang, and the whole species of cartilaginous fishes, which 
live only on flesh, such as the hygian, the long shark, the broad 
thorn-back, the slipper, the polypus, armed with air holes, and 
all the varieties of sea-dogs, swim there in crowds, constantly 
employed in devouring the wreck of bodies thrown upon the 

Nature calls in besides the insect legions to hasten forward 
their consumption. The wasps, furnished with scissars, cut 
asunder the fleshy parts ; the flies pump out the fluids, the sea- 
worms cut in pieces the bones. These last on the southern 
coasts, and especially at the mouths of rivers, are in such prodi- 
gious quantities, and armed with augurs so formidable, that they 
arc capable of devouring a ship of war in less time than it cost 
to build her ; and have thereby reduced the maritime Powers 
to the necessity of lately sheathing the bottoms of their squad- 
rons Avith copper, as a security against their attacks. 

The wrecks of all those bodies, after having served for food 
to the innumerable tribes of other fishes, some of which are 


provided with beaks formed like a spoon, and others like a pipe, 
for picking up the very crumbs of this vast table ; reduced at 
length, through such a series of digestions, into phlegms, into 
oils, into bitumens, and united to the pulps of vegetables, which 
descend from all quarters into the Ocean, would re-produce in 
it's waters a new chaos of putrefaction, did not the cun-ents 
convey their dissolution to volcanos, whose fires finish the pro- 
cess of decomposition, and give them back to the elements. For 
this reason it is, as has been already indicated, that volcanos are 
frequent only in hot countries ; that they are all situated in the 
vicinity of the Sea or of great Lakes ; that they are disposed at 
the extremity of their currents ; and that they owe entirely to 
the purification of the waters, the sulphurs and the bitumens 
which administer a constant supply to their furnaces. 

Animals of prey are by no means an object of terror to Man. 
First, because most of them roam abroad only in the night. 
They have prominent characters, which announce their approach 
even before it is possible to perceive them. Some savour 
strongly of musk, as the marten, the civet-cat, the crocodile ; others 
have shrill and piercing voices, which may be heard by night a4 
a great distance, as wolves and jackals; others are distinguish-. 
ed by party-coloured spots or streaks, which are perceptible a 
gi-eat way off on the yellow ground of their skin ; such are the 
dusky stripes of the tiger and the dark spots of the leopard. All 
of them have eyes which sparkle in the dark. Nature has be- 
stowed some of these common signatures even on carnivorous 
and bloodrsucking insects ; such is the wasp, whose ground co- 
lour is yellow, surrounded with rings of black like the tiger, and 
the gnat, spotted with white upon a dark ground, who announ- 
ces his approach by a loud buzzing. Even those which attack 
the human body are furnished with remarkable indications. 
They either smell strongly, as the bug; or present oppositions 
of colour to the places on which thty fix, az white insects on the 
hair ; or the blackness of the flea contrasted to the whiteness of 
the skin. 

A great many Writers exclaim violejitly on the crueltj' of fe- 
rocious animals, as if our cities were liable to be invaded by 
swarms of wolves, or as if bands of lions from Africa were from 
time to time making incursions into our European colonies. 
They all shpn the habitations of Man, and, as I said, most of 


them stir abroad only in the night. These distinctive characters 
are unanimously attested by Naturalists, Hunters, and Travel- 
lers. When I was at the Cape of Good Hope, M. de Tolback, 
who was then Governor, informed me that lions were formerly 
very common in the adjacent country ; but that since the Dutch 
had formed a settlement there, you must travel fifty or sixty 
leagues up the country before one is to be seen. 

After all what is their ferocity to us ? Even supposing we 
were not provided with arms, which they are incapable of re- 
sisting, and with a sagacity far superior to all their cunning. 
Nature has given us dogs able to combat, nay to subdue them ; 
and she has most admirably adapted their species to those of 
animals the most formidable. In the countries where lions are 
natives, there is likewise produced a breed of dogs capable of 
engaging them in single combat. I shall quote, after the an- 
cient but learned translation of Dupinet^ what Pliny relates of a 
dog of this species, Avhich was presented to Alexander by a King 
of Albania.* " King Alexander first opposed to him a lion. 
" which the dog presently tore in pieces. After that he order- 
" ed to let loose an elephant, which afforded him the highest 
" diversion that he ever had enjoyed. For the dog brisding 
" himself up from the first, began to wheel about and snarl at 
" the elephant ; then advanced to the attack, springing on this 
" side and on that side, with all imaginable circumspection: 
" now leaping up to assault, now couching to the right, to the 
" left, which caused the elephant to turn and wind about so fre- 
" quently that he was at last completely tired out, and fell down 
" with a shock which made the ground tremble, on which the 
" dog sprung upon him and dispatched^ him." I can hardly 
think this animal could be of the same race with our lap-dogs. 

The animals formidable to Man are more to be feared from 
their smallness than from their magnitude ; there is no one how- 
ever but what may be rendered subservient to his benefit. Ser- 
pents, centipeds, scorpions, toads, inhabit scarcely any other than 
humid and unwholesome places, from which they keep us at a 
distance, more by their hideous figures than by their poisons. 
Such serpents as are really dangerous give signals of their ap- 
proach ; such are the rattles of the snake which bears that name. 

• Pliny's Natural History, book viii. chap. xl. 


Few persons perish by their sting, and only from their owq 
carelessness and imprudence. Besides our pigs and poultry eat 
them currently without suffering the slightest inconvenience. 
Ducks in particular devour them with avidity, as they likewise 
do most poisonous plants. Those of the kingdom of Pontus 
acquired so much virtue by aliments of such sorts as are com- 
mon there, that Mithridates employed their blood in his famous 

There are, it is admitted, noxious insects which prey upon our 
fruits, our com, nay our persons. But if snails, may-bugs, ca- 
terpillars, and locusts ravage our plains, it is because we destroy 
the birds of our groves which live upon them ; or because that 
on transporting the trees of foreign countries into our own, such 
as the great chesnut of India, the ebony, and others, we have 
transported with them the eggs of those insects which they 
nourish, without importing likewise the birds of the same cli- 
mate which destroy them. Every country has those peculiar 
to itself, for the preservation of it's plants. I have seen one at 
the Cape of Good Hope, called the gardener's bird, incessantly 
employed in catching the worms and caterpillars, which he stuck 
on the thorny prickles of the bushes. I have likewise seen in 
the Isle of France a species of starling called Martin, which 
comes from India, and which lives entirely on locusts and on 
other insects which infest the cattle. If we were to naturalize 
these birds in Europe, no scientific discovery ever made would 
be so beneficial to Man. 

But the birds of our own groves are still sufficient to clear our 
plains of noxious vermin, provided the bird-catchers were laid 
under a prohibition to entrap them as they do by whole coveys 
in their nets, not to immure them in cages, but to make food of 
them. A fancy was adopted some years ago in Prussia to ex- 
terminate the race of sparroM^s, as inimical to agriculture. Every 
peasant in the country was subjected to an annual capitation tax 
of twelve heads "of that kind of bird, which were emplo3'ed in 
the manufacture of salt-petre, for in that country nothing is suf- 
fered to go to waste. At the end of the second, or at farthest 
the third year, it was discovered that insects had devoured their 
crops, and it was speedily found advisable to invite the spar- 
rows from neighbouring countries to re-people the kingdom 
with them. These birds, it is true, do eat some grains of com 


when the insects fail them ; but these last, among others the 
weevil, consume the grain by bushels, nay by whole granaries. 
If however it were possible to extinguish the whole race of in- 
sects, it would be the height of imprudence to set about it ; for 
we should destroy along with them most of the feathered*tribes 
of our plains, which have no other food for their young while 
in the nest.* 

As to the animals which fall upon our com in the granary 
and our woollens in the warehouse, such as rats, mice, mites, 
moths ; I find that the former are useful in purifying the earth 
from human excrement, which constitutes a considerable part of 
their food. Besides, Nature has made Man a present of the 
cat, to clear the interior of his habitation from those vermin. 
She has endowed this animal not only with uncommon agility, 
and with wonderful patience and sagacity, but also with a spirit 
of domesticity perfectly adapted to her employment. The cat 
attaches herself solely to the house. If the master removes, she 
returns ulone at night to her old habitation. She differs essen- 
tially in this from the dog, who attaches himself solely to the 

• For some observations on the utility of birds, of different orders or fami- 
lies, in destroying- various species of pernicious insects, I beg- leave to refer 
the reader to my Fraifmentu of the jVatural Jlistonf of I'cuisi/lvuiua, Pait I. 
I'hiladelphia, 1799. The following- fact, which will not, I hope, be deemed 
an uninteresting^ one, is copied from that work. "Asa devourer of perni- 
cious insects, one of the most useful birds with wiiich I am acquamted, is the 
House-Wren, or certhia familiurin. This little bird seems peculiarly fond of 
the society of man, and it must be confessed, that it is often protected by his 
interested care. From observing the usefulness of this bird in destro^ ing in- 
sects, it has long been a custom, in many parts of our country, to fix'a smaU 
box at the end of a long pole in gardens, about houses, &c., a's a place for it 
to build in. In these boxes they build and hatch their young. When the 
young are hatched, the parent birds feed them with a variety of different in- 
sects, particularly such as arc injurious in gardens. One of mv friends was 
at the trouble to observe the number of times that a pair of these birds came 
from their box, and returned with insects for their young. He found that they 
did this from forty t.. si:^ty times in aij hour; and in one particular hour the 
birds c:irri(-d food to their young seventy-one times. In this business they 
were engaged the greater part of the day, say twelve hours. Taking the 
medium, therefore, of fifty times an hour, it appeared that a single pair of 
these birds took from the cabbage, salad, beans, peas, and other vegetables 
in the garden, at least six hundred insects in the course of one day. This 
calculation proceeds upon the supposition, tliat the two birds took each, only 
a single insect each time. But it is higlily probable, they often took several 
It a time "—15. S. B. 


person of his master. The cat has the affection of a courtier, 
and the dog that of a friend ; the former adheres to the posses- 
sion, and the latter to the man. 

The weevil and the moth sometimes commit, it is true, great 
depredations among our grain and our woollens. Some Wri- 
ters have told us that the common hen is sufficient to clear the 
granaries of them : possibly it may be so. We have besides 
the spider and the swallow, which destroy them at the season 
when they take wing. I shall here consider only their po- 
litical utility. On looking into those prodigious magazines 
where monopolizers hoard up the provision and clothing 
of a whole province, are we not bound to bless the Hand that 
created the insect which obliges them to bring these necessary 
commodities to market? Were grain as incorruptible as gold 
and silver, it would soon become as scarce. See under how 
many loeks and doors these metals are secured, The common- 
alty would at length be completely deprived of their subsist- 
ence, if it were as little susceptible of change as that which is 
the representative of it. The mite and the moth first lay the 
miser under the necessity of employing a good many hands in 
stirring about and sifting his grain, till they force him at last to 
dispose of it altogether. How many poor wretches would go 
naked if the moth did not devour the wardrobes and ware- 
houses of the rich ! What is most wonderful here is, that the 
articles which minister to luxury are not liable to perish by in- 
sects, as those which are subservient to the most pressing wants 
of human life. It is possible to preserve without any diminu- 
tion of value, coffee, silk and cotton, even for ages ; but in In- 
dia, where these commodities are real necessaries of life, there 
are insects which quickly corrode them, particularly cotton 

The insects which attack the human body equally oblige the 
rich to employ those who have nothing, as domestics, to keep 
Up cleanliness around them. The Incas of I-eru exacted even 
this tribute of the poor : for in all countries these insects at- 
tach themselves to Man, though it may have been said that 
they did not pass the line. Besides these insects are rather 
teazing than noxious : they draw off the bad blood. As they 
immoderately increase only in great heats, they invite us to 
have recourse to bathing, which is so wholesome, atid yet so 


much neglected among us, because being expensive, it is be- 
come an object of luxurj'. 

After all, Nature has placed other insects near us which de- 
stroy them ; these are the spiders.* I have heard of an old 
officer who being very much incommoded with bugs at the 
Hospital of the Invalids, permitted the spiders to multiply 
round his bed, and thereby got the better of that nauseous ver- 
min. This remedy, I am aware, will appear to many persons 
worse than the disease. But I believe it possible to find others 
more agreeable in perfumes and oily essences ; at least I have 
remarked that the odour of various kinds of aromatic plants put 
to flight those abominable animals. 

As to other calamities of Nature's inflicting, Man feels their 
pressure only because he deviates from her laws. If storms 
sometimes ravage his orchards and his com fields, it is because 
he frequently places them where Nature never intended they 
should grow. Storms scarcely ever injure any culture except 
the injudicious cultivation of Man. Forests and natural mea- 
dows never suffer in the slightest degree. Besides, they have 
their utility. Thunder-storms purify and cool the air. The 
hail with which they are sometimes accompanied destroys great 
quantities of hurtful insects ; and hails are frequent only at the 
season when such insects hatch and multiply ; in Spring and 
Summer. But for the hurricanes of the Torrid Zone, the ants 

* 1 presume that it is a particular species of spider : for I am persuaded 
that there are as many species of these as there are of insects to be de- 
stroyed. They do not all expand nets ; some catch their prey fairly in the 
chace ; others succeed by lying- in ambuscade. I have seen one in Malta of 
a very sinp^ular character, and which is to be found in every house of that 
island. Nature has bestowed on this species of spider tlie resemblance of a 
fly, in the iiead and fore part of the body. When she perceives a fly on the 
wall, she makes her first approaches in great haste, taking- care always to 
maintain the higlier station. When she has got within five or six inches of 
her object she advances very slowly, presenting' to it a U-eacherous sem- 
blance ; and when she has got within tlic distance of two or three inches, she 
makes a sudden spring on her prey. This violent leap, made on a perpendi- 
cular plane, must sui-ely precipitate her to the ground. No such thing. You 
find her again still on the wall, whether she has made good her blow or mis- 
scd it ; for previously to tJiis great eflbrt, she had affixed a cord a-top, by 
which to warp herself up again. Cartesian Phdosophers, will you pretend 
:ifter tliis to persist in maintaining that animals ai'e merely machines ! 

Vol. r. E e 


and locusts would render the islands situated between the Tro- 
pics totally uninhabitable. 

I have already pointed out the utility, the absolute necessity 
of the volcanos, whose fires purify the waters of the Sea, as 
those of the thunder purify the air. Earthquakes proceed from 
the same cause. Besides, Nature communicates previous no- 
tice of their effects, and of the places where their focusses are 
situated. The inhabitants of Lisbon know well that their city 
has been several times shattered by shocks of this kind, and 
that it is imprudent to build in stone. To persons who can 
submit to live in a house of wood they have nothing formi- 
dable. Naples and Portici are .perfectly acquainted with the 
fate of Herculaneum. After all, earthquakes are not universal ; 
they are local and periodical. Pliny has observed the Gauls 
were not subject to visitations of this kind ; but there are many 
other countries which know of them only by report. They are 
scarcely ever felt except in the vicinity of volcanos, on the 
shores of the Sea or of great Lakes, and only at certain parti- 
cular portions of the shore. 

As to the epidemical maladies of the Human Race and the 
diseases of animals, they are in general to be imputed to cor- 
rupted waters. Physicians who have investigated their causes, 
ascribe them sometimes to the corruption of the air, sometimes 
to the mildew of plants, sometimes to fogs : but all these causes 
are simply effects of the corruption of the waters, from which 
arise putrid exhalations that infect the air, and vegetables, and 
animals. This may be charged in almost every instance on the 
injudicious labours of Man. The most unwholesome regions of 
the Earth, as far as I am at present able to recollect, are in 
Asia, on the banks of the Ganges, from which proceed every 
year putrid fevers, that in 1771 cost Bengal the life of more 
than a million of men. They h^ve for their focus the rice 
plantations, which are artificial morasses formed along the 
Ganges for the culture of that grain. After the crop is reaped, 
the roots and stalks of that plant which remain on the ground, 
rot, and are transformed into infectious puddles, from which 
pestilential vapours are exhaled. It is in the view of prevent- 
ing these pernicious consequences that the culture of this plant 
has been expressly prohibited in many parts of Europe, espe- 


cially in Russia, round Otzchakof, where it was formerly pro- 
duced in great quantities. 

In Africa the air of the island of Madagascar is corrupted, 
and from the same cause, during six months of the year, and 
will ever present an invincible object to any European setde- 
ment upon it. All the French colonies which have been planted 
there perished one after another from the putridity of the air ; 
and I myself must with the rest have fallen a victim to it, had 
not Divine Providence, by means of which I could have no 
foresight, prevented my intended expedition and residence in 
that part of the world. 

It is from the ancient miry canals of Egjqjt that the leprosy 
and the pestilence are perpetually issuing forth. In Europe, 
the ancient salt-marshes of Brouage, which the water of the 
Sea no longer reaches, and in which the rain-waters stagnate, 
because they are confined by the dikes and ditches of the old 
salt-pits, are become constant sources of distemper among the 
cattle. Similar diseases, putrid and bilious fevers, and the 
land-scurvy, annually issue from the canals of Holland, which 
putrefy in Summer to such a degree, that I have seen in Am* 
sterdam the canals covered with dead fishes j and it was im- 
possible to cross certain streets without obstructing the passages 
of the mouth and nose with your handkerchief. They have 
indeed forced a kind of current to the stagnant waters by means 
of wind-mills, which pump them up and throw them over the 
dikes in places where the canals are lower than the level of the 
Sea ; but these machines are still far too few in number. 

The bad air of Rome in Summer proceeds from it's ancient 
aqueducts, the waters of which are diffused among the ruins, 
or which have inundated the plains, the levels whereof have 
been interrupted by the magnificent labours of the ancient Ro- 
mans. The purple fever, the dysentery, die small-pox, so 
common all over our plains after the heats of Summer, or in 
warm and humid Springs, proceed for the most part from the 
puddles of the peasantry, in which leaves and the refuse of 
plants putrefy. Many of our city-distempers issue from the 
laystalls which surround them, and from the cemetries about 
our churches ; and which penetrate into the very sanctuary. 

I do not believe there would have been a single unwholesome 
spot on the Eartli if men had not put their hands to it. Tfie 


malignity of the air of St. Domingo has been quoted, that of 
Martinico, of Porto-Bello, and of several distri-ts of America, 
as a natural effect of Climate. But these places have been in- 
habited b)^ Savages, who from time immemorial have busied 
themselves in diverting the course of rivers, and choking up 
rivulets. These labours constitute even an essential part of their 
defence. They imitate the beavers in the fortification of their 
villages, by inundating the adjacent country. Provident Nature 
however has placed those animals only in cold Latitudes,* where, 
in imitation of herself, they form lakes which soften the air ; 
and she has introduced running waters into hot Latitudes, be- 
cause lakes would there speedily change by evaporation into 
putrid marshes. The lakes which she has scooped out in such 
Latitudes are all situated among mountains, at the sources of 
rivers, and in a cool Atmosphere. I am the more induced to 
impute to the Savages the corruption of the air, so murderous 
in some of the Antilles, that all the islands which have been 
found uninhabited were exceedingly wholesome ; such as the 
Isle of France, of Bourbon, of St. Helena, and others. 

As the corruption of the air is a subject peculiarly interest- 
ing, I shall venture to suggest by the way some simple methods 

* The beaver is by no means confined to the cold latitudes. In North -A - 
merica, at least, this animal is found as far South as latitude 33 dcg., and 
here, as well as in the more northern regions of it's residence, the beaver 
is distinguished, among other animals, both by it's ingenuity, and by it's 
wonderful habits of labour and perseverance. Saint-Pierre did not know, 
Ihat there is a species of beaver in Chili ; but this species, though the inha- 
lant of a cold climate, does not construct either foundations (dams) 
or houses which have always rendered this animal an object of so much cu- 
riosit)' and interest to the Naturalists. There is no good reason to conjec- 
ture, that the lakes which are formed by the beaver, great as they are, can 
exert much, if any, effect upon the temperature of the climate : but I think 
it probable, that such lakes may sometimes prove injurious to the health of 
a district abounding in the beavers. If there be any foundation for this sup- 
position, the dams of the beaver are very frequently far enough South to pro- 
duce the common diseases which arise from exhalations from lakes of water. 
Let us not, then, ascribe to man alone the luiwholesomeness of the countiies 
which he inhabits. It rather becomes the Philosopher to acknowledge, that 
Man sometimes improves upon Nature. In other words, he drains marshes, 
and the smaller lakes ; he fills up their basons with a more substantial soil, 
which he covers witli the wheat, the rye, and other valuable grains ; and, in 
this way, he at the same time augments the means of supporting life, while 
he diminishes the causes of sickness.— B. S. B, 


of remedying it. The first is to remove the causes of It, by 
substituting in place of the stagnant puddles with which our 
plains abound the use of cisterns, the waters of which are so 
salubrious when they are judiciously constructed. They are 
universally employed all over Asia. Care should likewise be 
taken to prevent the throwing the bodies and other offal of 
dead animals into the laystalls of our cities ; they ought to be 
carried to the rivers, which will be thereby rendered more pro- 
ductive of fish. In the case of Cities which are not washed by 
rivers to carry off the garbage, or if this method is found other- 
wise inconvenient, attention should be paid at least to placing 
the laystalls only to the North and North-east of such cities, in 
order to escape, especially during Summer, the fetid gusts 
which pass over them from the South and South-west. 

The second is to abstain from digging canals. We are well 
acquainted with the maladies which have resulted from those 
of Eg}'pt, in the vicinity of Rome, and elsewhere, when care is 
not taken to keep them in repair. Besides the benefits derived 
from them are very problematical. To look at the medals 
which have been struck in our own country, on occasion of the 
canal of Briare, would we not be induced to think that the 
Strait of Gibraltar was henceforth to become superfluous to the 
navigation of France ? Granting it to have been of some little 
utility to the interior commerce of the country, has the mischief 
done to the plains through which it passes been taken into the 
account as a counterbalance ? So many brooks and springs di- 
verted from their course, and collected from every quarter, to 
be gulped up in one great navigable canal, must have ceased to 
water a very considerable extent of land. And can that be con- 
sidered as a great commercial benefit which is injurious to 
agriculture ? Canals arc adapted only to marshy places. 

This is the third method of contributing to the restoration of 
the salubrity of the air. The attempts made in France to dry 
the marshes have alwa}'s cost us a great many men, and fre- 
quently for that very reason have been left incomplete. I can dis- 
cover no other cause for this but the precipitancy with which such 
works are undertaken, and the multiplicit}'^ of the objects which 
they are intended to embrace. The Engineer presents his plan, 
the undertaker gives in his estimate, the minister approves, the 
prince finds the money, the intendant of the province finds the 


labourers ; all things concur to the effect proposed, except Na- 
ture. From the bosom of rotten earth arise putrid emanations, 
which presently scatter death among the workmen. 

As a remedy to these inconveniencies I beg leave to throw 
out some observations, which I believe to be well-founded. A 
piece of land entirely covered with water is never unwholesome. 
It becomes so only when , the water which covers it evaporates, 
and exposes to the air the muds of it's bottom and sides. The 
putridity of a morass might be remedied as effectually by trans- 
forming it into a lake as into solid ground. It's situation must 
determine whether of these two objects is to be preferred. If 
it is in a bottom, and without efflux, the indication of Nature 
ought to be followed up, and the whole covered with water. If 
there is not enough to form a complete inundation, it might be 
cut into deep ditches, and the stuff dug out thrown on the adjoin- 
ing lands. Thus we should ha^^e at once canals always full of 
water, and little isles both fertile and wholesome. As to the 
season proper for such labours, the Spring and Autumn ought to 
be preferred ; and great care must be taken to place the labourers 
with their faces to the M^indward, and to supply by means of 
machinery the necessity to which they are frequently subjected, 
of plunging into mires and muds, to clear them away. 

It has always appeared to me strangely unaccountable that in 
France, where there are such numerous and such judicious esta- 
blishments, we should have ministers of superintendance in 
foreign affairs, for war, the marine, finance, commeixe, manu- 
factures, the clergy, public buildings, horsemanship, and so on, 
but never one for agriculture. It proceeds, I am afraid, from 
the contempt in which the peasantry are there held. All men 
however are sureties for each" other ; and independently of the 
uniform stature and configuration of the Human Race, I would 
exact no other proof that all spring from one and the same ori- 
ginal. It is from the puddle by the side of the poor man's 
hovel, which has been robbed of the little brook whose stream 
sweetened it, that the epidemic plague shall issue forth to de- 
vour the lordly inhabitants of the neighbouring castle. 

Egypt avenges herself by the pestilence arising out of her 
canals of the oppression of the Turks, who prevent her inhabi- 
tants from keeping them in repair. America, sinking under the 
accumulated strokes of Europeans, exhales from her bosom a 


thousand maladies fatal to Europe, and drags down with her 
the haughty Spaniard expiring on her ruins. Thus the Centaur 
left, with Deinira, his robe empoisoned with the blood of the 
Hydra, as a present which should prove fatal to his conqueror. 
Thus the miseries which oppress Mankind pass from huts to 
palaces, from the Line to the Poles, from Ages past to Ages 
yet to come ; and their long and lingering effects are a fearful 
voice crying in the ears of the Potentates of the Earth: " Learn 
" to be just, and not to oppress the miserable." 

Not only the elements but reason itself corrupts in the haunts 
of wretchedness. What torrents of error, fear, superstition, 
discord, have broken out in the lower regions of Society, and 
swelled to the terror and the subversion of Thrones ! The more 
that men are oppressed the more niiserable are their oppressors, 
and the more feeble is the Nation which they compose. For 
the force which tyrants employ to support their authority at 
home, is never exercised but at the expense of that which they 
might employ to maintain their respectability abroad. 

First, from the haunts of misery issue forth prostitution, 
thefts, murders, conflagrations, highway-robberies, revolts, and 
a multitude of physical evils besides, which in all countries are 
the plagues that tyranny produces. But those of opinion are 
much more terrible. One man is bent on subjugating another, 
not so much for the sake of getting hold of his property as to 
command his admiration, his reverence. Ambition proposes to 
itself no boundary short of this. To whatever condition he may 
be elevated, and however low his rival reduced ; let him have 
at his mercy the fortune, the labour, the wife, the person of his 
adversary, he has gained no point unless he has gained his ho- 
mage. It availed Haman nothing to have the life, the goods of 
the Jews at his disposal : he must see Mordecai prostrated at 
his feet. Oppressors arc thus the oppressed, and become the 
arbiters of their own happiness ; and the oppressed for the most 
part paying them back injustice for injustice, disturb them with 
false reports, religious terrors, dark surmises, calumnies, which 
engender among tliem suspicions, apprehensions, jealousies, 
feuds, law-suits, duels ; and at last civil wars, which issue in 
their total destruction. 

Let us examine, in the case of some ancient and modem Go- 
vernments, this re-action of evils upon each other, and we shall 


find it's extent to be in proportion to the ills which they bring 
upon mankind. On contemplating this tremendous balance, we 
shall be constrained to acknowledge the existence of Sovereign 

Without paying regard to the common division of Govern- 
ments* into Democracy, Aristocracy, and Monarchy, which are 

* Politicians, in classing Governments according- to these exterior resem- 
blances in form, have acted precisely as those Botanists do who comprehend 
in the same category plants which have similar flowers or leaves, without 
paying any attention to their virtues. The BoUnist classes together the oak 
and the pimpernel ; and the Politician the Roman republic and that of St. 
Marino. This is not the way of observing nature : her .spirit, not her forms, 
is the great thing which we ought to stud}'. 

If in the Histoi-y of any People you do not attend to it's moral and internal 
constitution, which scarcely any Historian keeps steadily in view, it will be 
impossible to conceive how Republics, apparently well constituted, have sud- 
denly sunk into ruin : how others on the contrary in which nothing but agita- 
tion appeared, became formidable : whence arise the dm-ation and the power 
of despotic States, so much decried by modern Authors : and finally, how it 
came to pass that after the glorious reigns of Marcus Aurelius and of Antoni- 
nus, which have been so highly extolled, the Roman Empire finished it's pro- 
gress to dissolution. It was, I am bold enough to affirm, because those good 
Princes thought only of preserving the exterior form of the Government. 
All was tranquillity around them ; the form of a Senate remained ; Rome was 
well supplied with corn ; the garrisons in the provinces were regularly paid. 
There was no sedition, no disturbance, every thing to appearance went on 
well. But during this Ictliargy the rich were going on in an unbounded ac- 
cumulation of property, and tlie people were loosing the little that they had. 
The great offices of the State wei-e engrossed by tlie same fiunilies. In order 
to have the means of subsistence, it was necessary for the commonalty to at- 
tach themselves to the Great. Rome contained a populace of mere menials. 
The love of country was extinguished. The wretched did not know of what 
to complain. No one did them any wrong. All was orderly ; but this very 
order precluded the possibility of their ever coming to any thing. They did 
not cut the throats of the citizens, as in the days of Mariut and Sylla, but they 
stifled them. 

In all human Society there are two powers, the one temporal and the other 
spiritual. You find them in all the Governments of the \\^orld, in Europe, in 
Asia, in Africa, and in America. The Human Race is governed in the same 
way as the human body. Such is the will of the Author of Nature, in order 
to the preservation and happiness of Mankind. When Nations are oppressed 
by the spiritual power, they resort for protection to the temporal ; when this 
last oppresses in it's turn, tliey have recourse to the other. When both 
these concur to render them miserable, then arise heresies in swarms, 
schisms, civil wars, and a multitude of secondary powers, which balance tiie 
abuses of the two first, till there results at length a general apathy, and the 
State fivlls into destruction. We shall presently go into a thorough investiga- 


only at bottom political forms that determine nothing as to either 
their happiness or their power, we shall insist only on their mo- 
ral constitution. 

Every Government, of whatever description, is internally 
happy and respectable abroad, when it bestows on all it's sub- 
jects their natural right of acquiring fortune and honours : and 
the contrary takes place when it reserves to a particular class of 
citizens the benefits which ought to be common to all. It is not 
sufficient to prescribe limits to the People, and to restrain them 
within these by terrifying phantoms. They quickly force the 
person who puts them in motion to tremble more than them- 
selves. When human policy locks the chain round the ancle of a 
slave, Divine Justice rivets the other end round the neck of the 

Few Republics have been more judiciously constituted than 
that of Lacedemon. Virtue and happiness were seen to flourish 
there during a period of five hundred years. Notwithstanding 
the mediocrity of it's extent, it gave law to Greece and to the 
northern coasts of Asia ; but as Lycurgus had not comprehended 
in his plan either the Nations which Sparta was to subdue, or 
even the Helots, who laboured the ground for her, by them 
were introduced the commotions which shattered her constitu- 
tion, and at length totally subverted it. 

In the Roman Republic there subsisted greater equality and 
proportionally more power and happiness. She was indeed 
divided into Patricians and Plebeians ; but as these last were 
capable of attaining the highest military dignities, as they pos- 
sessed besides an exclusive title to the tribunitial office, the 
power of which equalled, nay surpassed that of the Consuls, 
the most perfect harmony existed between the two orders. It is 
impossible to observe without emotion the deference and respect 
paid by the Plebeians to the Patricians, during the most glo- 
rious periods of the Republic. They selected their patrons from 
among that order ; they attended them in crowds on their way 
to tlie Senate : when they happened to be poor, they assessed 
themselves to make up a marriage portion for their daughters. 
The Patricians on the other hand took an interest in all the af- 

tion of tliis intcrcstinjj subject when we come to speak of France. We shall 
find tliaUhoiif^h there is but one which governs of rig-ht, there are five powers 
which povern in fact. 

Vol. I. F f 


fairs of the Plebeians ; they pleaded their causes in the Senate ; 
permitted them to bear their names ; adopted them into their 
families, and gave them their daughters in marriage, when they 
distinguished themselves by their virtues. These alliances with 
Plebeian families were not disdained even by Emperors. Au- 
^stiis gave his only daughter Jiilia in marriage to the Plebeian 
Agrippa, Virtue sat enthroned at Rome ; and no where else 
upon Earth were altars raised more worthy of her. A judg- 
ment of this may be formed from the rewards assigned to illus- 
trious actions. A criminal was condemned to be starved to 
death in prison ; his daughter is allowed permission to visit him 
there, and keeps him alive by the milV from her own breast. 
The Senate, informed of this instance of filial tenderness, voted 
a pardon to the father in consideration of the daughter, and on 
the spot where the prison stood, commanded to rear a Temple 
sacred to filial piety. 

If a person condemned was on the way to execution, the sen- 
tence was remitted if a vestal happened to pass that way. The 
punishment due to criminality disappeared in the presence of 
virtue. If in battle one Roman saved another out of the hands 
of the enemv, he became entitled to the civic crown. This 
crown consisted only of oak leaves, nay it was the only military 
croAvn which had nothing golden about it, but it conferred the right 
of sitting in the puplic theatres on the bench adjoining to those 
which were allotted to Senators, who all stood up in deference on 
the entrance of him who wore it. It was, says Pliny, the most 
illustrious of all crowns, and communicated higher privileges 
than the mural, the obsidional, and naval crowns, because there 
is more glory in saving a single citizen than in taking cities, or 
in gaining battles. It was the same, for this reason, whether 
the person saved were the commander in chief, or only a private 
soldier ; but it was not to be earned by delivering an allied King, 
who might have come to the assistance of the Romans. Rome 
in the distribution of rewards distinguished only the citizen. 
By means of such patriotic sentiments she conquered the Earth, 
but she was just only to her o^vn people ; it was by her injustice 
to other men that she became weak and unhappy. Her con- 
quests filled her with slaves, who under Spartkus brought her 
to the brink of destruction, and which decided her fate at last 
by the arms of corruption, much more formidable than those 


of war. By the vices and the flatteries of il^ Grecian and Asi- 
atic slaves at Rome, were formed within her bosohv the Catalines, 
the Cesars^ the Neros ; and while their voice was corrupting 
the masters of the World, that of the Goths, the Cimbri, the 
Teutones, the Gauls, the AUobroges, the Vandals, the compa- 
nions of their lot, was inviting their compatriots from the North 
and from the East, who at length levelled the glory of Rome 
with the dust. 

Modern Governments exhibit a similar re-action of equity 
and felicity, of injustice and misfortune. In Holland, where 
the people may aspire to every thing, abundance pervades the 
whole States, good order prevails in the cities, fidelity in wed- 
lock, tranquillity in all minds ; disputes and law-suits are rare 
in that country, because every one is content. Few European 
Nations possess a territory so contracted, and no one has extend- 
ed her power so far : her riches are immense : she maintained 
singly successful war against Spain in all it's splendor, and after- 
wards against France and England united: her commerce ex- 
tends over the whole Globe : she possesses powerful colonies in 
America, thriving settlements in Africa, formidable kingdoms 
in Asia. But if we trace up to their source the calamities and 
the wars with which she has been visited for two centuries, it 
will be found that they prnrecd from the injustice of some of 
her settlements in thoae countries. Her happiness and her power 
are not to be attributed to her republican form of Government, 
but that community of benefits which she presents indiscrimi- 
nately to all her subjects, and which produces the same effects 
in despotic Governments, of which we have had representations 
so frightful. 

Among the Turks, as among the Dutch, there is no such 
thing as quarrelling, or calumniating, or stealing, or prostitution, 
in the cities. Nay, there is not to be found perhaps over the 
whole Empire a single Turkish ^voman carrying on the trade of 
a courtezan. There is in the general mind neither restlessness 
nor jealousy. Every man sees without envy in his superiors a 
felicity attainable by himself, and he is at all times ready to lay 
down his life for the Religion and Government of his country. 
Their force abroad is by no means inferior to the perfection of 
their union at home. With whatever contempt our Historians 
may expose their ignorance and stupidity, they have actually 


made themselve.'=: masters of the finest provinces of Asia, of 
Africa, of Europe, nay of the Empire of the Greeks themselves, 
with all tJieir wit and learning, because the sentiment of patriot- 
ism which unites them, is sufficient to baffle all the talents and 
all the tactics in the world. They have undergone however 
frequent convulsions from the revolting of the conquered Na- 
tions ; but the most dangerous proceed from their feeblest ad- 
versaries, from those very Greeks whose property they plunder 
with impunity, and Avhose children they annually carry off, as a 
tribute to recruit the Seraglio. From these same children issue, 
by a re-acting Providence, most of the Janizaries, the Agas, the 
Pachas, the Bashaws, the Viziers, which oppress the Turks in 
their turn, and render themselves formidable even to their 

It is this same community of hopes and of fortunes pre- 
sented without distinction to all conditions of men, which has 
given so much energy to Prussia, whose internal police and vic- 
tories abroad have been so highly celebrated by our political 
writers ; though it's GoA^emment is still more despotic than that 
of Turkey ; for the Prince there is absolute master at once in 
temporals and in spirituals. 

The Republic of Venice on the contrary, so well known for 
her courtezans, for the rcstlessucss and jealousy of her Govern- 
ment, is extremely feeble externally, though she is of higher 
antiquity, in a situation more advantageous, and under a much 
finer sky than Holland. Venice is a maritime power in the 
MediteiTanean, hardly acknowledged as such in modern times, 
whereas Holland is enlivening the whole Earth by her com- 
merce ; because the first has restricted the rights of humanity 
to the class of Nobility, and the second has extended them to 
the whole people. 

It is farther from the inflvience of this unjust partition that 
Malta, with the finest port in the Mediterranean, situated be- 
tween Africa and Europe, in the vicinity of Asia, and swarm- 
ing with a young Nobility of undaunted courage, Vv^ill ever 
remain the last Power in Europe, because the people there are 
reduced to nothing. 

I shall here take occasion to observe, that hereditary nobility 
in a State destroys at once all emulation in both the nobly and 
ignobly born. It is destroyed in the first, because being entitled 


Ijy birth to pretend to ever}- thing, they have no need to call in 
the assistance of merit ; and in the second, being excluded from 
every pretension to rise, no degree of merit could avail them. 
This is the political vice which has undermined the power of Por- 
tugal and that of Spain ; and not the monastic spirit, as so many 
Writers have asserted. The monkish order was all powerful 
from the times of Ferdinand and Isabella. It was a Monk who 
decided at Court the expedition of Christopher Columbus in quest 
of a new World, the conquest of which quadrupled in Spain the 
number of Gentlemen. Not a Spanish soldier went over to 
America, but gave himself out on his arrival there for a man of 
family, and who on his return to Spain with money in his pocket 
did not make good his title. The same thing shewed itself 
among the Portugueze, who made conquests in Asia. The 
military order in both these Nations at that time performed 
prodigies, because the career of ambition in feats of arms was 
then open to tlie commonalty. But ever since it has been shut 
against them, by the prodigious number of gentlemen with which 
these two States abound, the balance has turned in favour of the 
monastic order, and confeired upon it a tribunitial Power. 

However wonderful our political speculations may represent 
the threefold counterbalancing powers which constitute the Go- 
vernment of Great Britain, it is to the violent agitations of those 
powers that we must ascribe the pei-petual quarrels which dis- 
turb her happiness, and the venality which has at length cor- 
rupted her. The Commons, I grant, form one of her Houses 
of Parliament, but the right of sitting in it as a representative, 
being restricted to persons possessed of such a revenue, it's doors 
must of course be shut against the admission of many a wise 
head, and be open to some not entirely of that description. An 
Alcibiades and a Cataline might have made a shining figure there ; 
but a Socrates^ the just Aristides^ Epaminondas^ who transfer- 
red tlie Empire of Greece to Thebes, Attiliiis-Regidus^ M'ho was 
called from the plough to the Dictatorship, Menenius-Agrippa^ 
who settled the dispute between the Senate and People ; no one 
of these could have procured a seat, because he had not an estate 
in land worth so much a year. Britain would destroy herself 
by her very boasted Constitution, did she not present a common 
career to everj^ citizen in her Marine. All the Orders of the 
State concur in this point of union, and give it such a prepon- 


derancy, that it fixes their political equilibrium. Whoever could 
destroy the Marine of England would annihilate her Govern- 
ment. This unanimous concurrence of the whole Nation toward 
the cultivation of one single Art, has raised it to a height of 
perfection hitherto unattained in any other Country, and has 
rendered it the sole instrument of her power. 

If we glance a look on the other States which bear the name 
of Republic, we shall find internal disorder and external weak- 
ness, increasing in proportion to the inequality of the citizens. 
Poland has reserved to the Nobility exclusively all the authority, 
and left her Commonalty in the most detestable slavery; so 
that war, which establishes between the citizens of one and the 
same Nation a community of danger, establishes between those 
of Poland no community of reward. Her History exhibits 
nothing but a long series of bloody quarrels between Palatinate 
and Palatinate, City and City, Family and Family, which have 
alwaj^s rendered her extremely miserable. The greatest part 
of the Nobility themselves are there reduced to such wretched- 
ness, that they are obliged for a subsistence to sene the Gran- 
dees in the most contemptible employments, as our Nobility 
formerly did under the feudal Government, and as is the case 
to this day in Japan : for wherever the peasantry are slaves, the 
yeomanry are menials. The calamity has at length overtaken 
Poland in our own days, which would have fallen upon her long 
ago, had not the Kingdoms which surround her laboured then 
under the same defects in their several Constitutions. She has 
been parcelled out by her neighbours in despight of her long 
political discussions, as the empire of the Greeks was by the 
Turks, at a time when certain priests who had got possession of 
the public mind were amusing them with theological subtilities. 

In Japan the wretchedness of the Nobles is in proportion to 
their t«,Tanny. They formed at first a feudal Government, which 
it is so easy to subvert, as well as all those of the same nature ; 
for the first of the feudal Chiefs who aspired at the sovereignty 
effected his purpose by a single battle. He cui'tailed their power 
of determining their quarrels by civil wars, but left them in full 
possession of all their other privileges ; that of abusing the pea- 
sants, who there are mere slaves, the power of life and death 
over all who are in their pay, even over their wives. The mass 
of the people who, in extreme misery, have no way of subsisting 


but by intimidating or corrupting their tyrants, have produced 
in Japan an incredible multitude of bonzes of all sects, who have 
erected temples on every mountain ; comedians and drolls, who 
have theatres set up in every cross-street of their cities ; and 
courtezans in such shoals, that the traveller is pestered with 
them on every high road, and at every inn where he stops. But 
this very people set such a high value on the consideration ex- 
acted of them by the Nobility, that if so much as a cross look 
passes between two of them, fight they must; and if the insult 
be any thing serious, it is absolutely necessary that both parties 
should rip up each other, under pain of infamy. To this hatred 
of it's t}Tants we must impute the singular attachment which 
the Japanese expressed for the Christian Religion, because they 
hoped it was to efface by it's morality distinctions so abomina- 
ble between man and man: and to popular prejudices we must 
refer, in the Nobility of that Country, the contempt which they 
expressed on a thousand occasions for a life rendered so preca- 
rious from the opinions of another. 

A sage equality, proportioned to the intelligence and to the 
talents of all her subjects, has for a long time rendered China 
the happiest spot on the Globe : but a taste for pleasure having 
there at last produced a dissolution of the moral principle, mo- 
ney, the insrument of procuring it, is become the moving prin- 
ciple of the Government. Venality has there divided the Na- 
tion into two great classes, the rich and the poor. Tlie ancient 
ranks which in that Country elevated men to all the public of- 
fices still exist, but the rich only actually fill them. This vast 
and populous Empire having no longer any patriotism, but what 
consists in certain unmeaning ceremonies, has been oftener than 
once invaded by the Tartars, who were invited into the Coimtry 
by the calamities which the People endured. 

The Negroes in general are considered as the most unfor- 
tunate species of Mankind on the face of the Globe. In truth, 
it looks as if some destiny had doomed them to slaverj'. The 
ancient curse pronovmced by Noah* is by some believed to be 
still actually in effect: " Cursed be Canaan! a servant of ser- 
" vants shall he be unto his brethren." They themselves con- 
firm it by their traditions. If we may give credit to a Dutch 

• Genesis, chap. ix. ver. 25. 


Author, of the name of Bosmayi^ " the Negroes of the Guinea 
" coast allege that GOD having created blacks and whites, 
" proposed to them the power of choosing between two things, 
" namely, the possession of gold, and of the art of reading and 
" writing ; and as GOD gave the power of the first choice to 
" the blacks, they preferred gold ; and they left learning to the 
" whites, which was accordingly granted them. But that the 
" Creator, provoked at the appetite for gold which they had 
" manifested, immediately passed a decree that the whites 
" should have eternal dominion over them, and that they should 
" forever be subject to their white brethren as slaves.*" I do 
not mean to support by Sacred Authority, nor by that which 
those unfortunate wretches themselves furnish, the tyranny 
which we exercise over them. If the malediction of a Father 
has been able to extend such an influence over his posterity, the 
benediction of GOD, which under the Christian Religion ex- 
tends to them as well as to us, re-establishes them in all the 
liberty of the law of Nature. The precept of Christianity 
which enjoins us to consider all men as brethren, speaks in their 
behalf as in behalf of our own countrymen. If this were the 
proper place, I could demonstrate how Providence enforces in 

* Botsmans Vot/ag^e to Guinea, letter x. This decision oT modem Negroes 
is liig-hly to their honour. They seem to feel the inestimable value of know- 
ledge. But could tliey have seen in Europe the condition of most men of 
literature, compared with that of men who possess gold, their tradition would 
have been completely reversed. 

Similar opinions may be traced through other African black tribes, parti- 
cularly among the blacks of the Cape de Verd Islands, as may be seen in the 
excellent account given of them by George Robert. This unfortunate Navi- 
gator was obliged to flee for refuge to the Island of St. John, where he re- 
ceived from the inhabitants the most affecting proofs of generosity and hos- 
pitality, after having undergone the most atrociously cruel treatment from his 
countrymen, the English pirates, who phmdcred his vessel. 

It must however be acknowledged, that if some African tribes excel us in 
moral qualities, the Negroes in general are very inferior to other Nations in 
those of the understanding. They have never to this day discovered the ad- 
dress of managing the elephant as the Asiatics have done. They have car- 
ried no one species of cultivation to it's highest dcgi-ee of perfection. They 
are indebted for that of the gi-eatest part of their alimentary vegetables to the 
Portugueze and to the Arabians. They practise no one of the liberal Arts, 
which hud made however some progress among the inhabitants of the New- 
World, who are much more modern than they. Nature has placed them on 
a part of the Continent, from whence they might with ease have penetrated 


ihelr favour the laws of universal justice, by rendering their 
tyrants in our colonies a hundred times more wretched than 
they are. Besides, how many wars have been kindled among 
the maritime Powers of Europe on account of the African slave- 
trade ? IIow many maladies and corruptions of blood in fami- 
lies have not the Negroes produced among us ? 

But I shall confine myself to their condition in their own 
country', and to that of their compatriots who abuse their power 
over them. I do not know that there ever existed among them 
a single Republic, except it were perhaps some pitiful Aristo- 
cracy along the western coast of Africa, such as that of Fan- 
tim. They are under the dominion of a multitude of pettj- t}'- 
rants, who sell them at pleasure. But on the other hand the 
condition of those kings is rendered so deplorable by priests, 
fetichas, grigris, sudden revolutions, nay from the very want of 
the common necessaries of life, that few of our common sai- 
lors would be disposed to change conditions with them. Be- 
sides, the Negroes escape a considerable portion of their mise- 

itito America, as the winds which blow thither are easterly, that is, perfectly 
faif ; but 90 far from that, that they had not even discovered the islands in 
tlieir vicinity, such as the Canaries and the Cape de Verds. The black Pow- 
ers of Africa have never to this hoiu' discovered genius equal to the construc- 
tion of a brig-antine. Sd far from altcmpting^ to extend their boundaries. 
Ihey have permitted strangers to take possession of all their coasts. For in 
ancient times the Egyptians and Phenicians settled on their eastern and nor- 
thern shores, which are now in the possession of the Turks and Arabians 
And for some ages past the Portugueze, tlie English, the D;, the Dutch, 
and the French, have laid hold of what remained to the East, to the South, 
and to the West, simply for the purpose of getting slaves. 

It must needs be after all, Uiat a parUcular Providence should have pre- 
served the patrimony of these children of Canaan from the avidity of their 
brethren, the children of Shem and Japhet : for it is astonishing that per- 
sons such as we ai*c, the sons of Japhet in particular, who as being younger 
brothers were hunting after fortune all the world over, and who according 
to tlic benediction of Noah our Father, were to extend our lodging even into 
tlie tents of Shem our eldest brother, should never have established colonies 
in a part of the world so beautiful as Africa is, so near us, in which the sugar- 
cane, the coflee-plant, and most of the productions of Asia and America ctji 
grow, and in a v.'ord where slaves are Uie produce of the soil. 

Politicians may ascribe the different characters of Negroes and Europeans 
to whatever caust s they please. For my own part, I say it on the most perfect 
conviction, that I know no Book which contains monuments more authentic 
of the Histnn- of Natioir?, and that of Nature, than the Book of Genesis 

Vol. I. Gg 


ries by the thoughtlessness of their temper and the levity of 
their imagination. They dance in the midst of famine as of 
abundance ; in chains as when at liberty. If a chicken's foot 
inspires them with terror, a small slip of white paper restores 
their courage. Every day they make up and pull to pieces 
their gods, as the whim strikes them. 

It is not in stupid Africa, but in India, the ancient wisdom 
of which stands in such high reputation, that the miseries of 
the Human Race are carried to their highest excess. The 
Bramins, formerly called Brachmans, who are the priests there, 
have divided the Nation into a variety of Casts, some of which 
they have devoted to infamy, as that of the Parias. No one 
will doubt that they have taken care to render their own sacred. 
No person is worthy to touch them, to eat with them, much 
less to contract any manner of alliance. They have contrived 
to prop up this imaginary grandeur by incredible superstitions. 
From their hands have issued that infinite number of Gods, of 
monstrous forms, which scare the human imagination all over 
Asia. The Commonalty, by a natural reaction of opinions, 
render them in their turn the most miserable of all mankind. 
They are obliged, in order to support their reputation, to wash 
themselves from head to foot on the slightest contamination by 
contact; to undergo frequent and rigorous fastings; to sub- 
mit to penances the most horrible, before idols which they 
themselves have rendered so tremendous : and as the people 
are not permitted to intermix blood with them, they constrain, 
by the power of prejudice over the tyrants, their widows to 
burn themselves alive with the body of the dead husband. 

Is it not then a very horrible condition for men reputed wise, 
and who give law to their Nation, to be witnessess of the un- 
timely death, in circumstances so shocking, of their female 
friends and relations, of their daughters, their sisters, their mo- 
thers ? Travellers have cried up their knowledge : but is it not 
an odious alternative for enlightened men either to terrify per- 
petually the ignorant, by opinions which at the long-run subju- 
gate even those who propagate them ; or if they are so fortu- 
nate as to preserve their reason, to make a shameful and crimi- 
nal use of it by employing it to disseminate falshood ? How is 
it possible for them to esteem each other ? How is it possible to 
retire within themselves, and to lift up their eyes to that Divi- 


nity, of whom, as we are told, they entertain conceptions so 
sublime, and of whom they exhibit to the People representa- 
tions so abominable ? 

Whatever may be, as far as their ambition is concerned, the 
melancholy fruit of their policy, it has drawn in it's train the 
misery of this vast Empire, situated in the finest region of the 
Globe. Their military is formed of the Nobility, called Nairs, 
who possess the second rank in the State. The Bramins, in or- 
der to support themselves by force as well as by guile, have 
admitted them to a participation in some of their privileges. 
Hear what Walter Schouten says of the indifference expressed 
by the common People towards the Nairs when any mischief 
befalls them. After a bloody encounter, in which the Dutch 
killed a considerable number of those who had taken the side of 
the Portugueze : " No outrage or insult," says he,* " was offer- 
" ed to any artizan, peasant, fisherman, or rather inhabitant of 
" Malabar, not even in the rage of battle. They in consequence 
'* never thought of flight. A great many of them were posted 
" at different places merely as spectators of the action ; and they 
-' appeared to take no manner of interest in the fate of the 
" Nairs." 

I have been an eye-witness of the same apadiy in Nations 
whose Nobility forms a separate class, among others, in Poland. 
The Commonalty of India subject the Nairs as well as the Bra- 
mins to their share of the miseries of opinion. The Nairs are 
incapacitated to contract legitimate marriages. Many of them, 
known by the name of Amocas, are obliged to sacrifice them- 
selves in battle or on the death of their kings. They are the 
victims of their unjust honour, as the Bramins are of their in- 
human religion. Their courage, which is merely professional 
spirit, far from being beneficial to their Country, is frequently 
fatal to it. From time immemorial it has been desolated by 
their intestine wars ; and it is so feeble externally, that handfuls 
of Europeans have made settlements in it wherever they pleased. 
At the close of the war in 1762, a proposition was made in the 
Parliament of Great Britain to make the complete conquest of 
it, and to pay off the national debt with the riches which might 
have been extracted out of it ; and this the proposer undertook to 

• Voyag-c to the East-Indies, vol. i. page 36r. 


effect if he was landed in India with an army of five thousand 
Europeans. The boldness of the enterprize astonished no one 
of his corn-patriots, who were acquainted with the weakness of 
that Country, and it was laid aside, as is alleged, merely from 
the injustice of it. 

In France the people never acquire any share in the Govern- 
ment, from Julius Cesar, who is the first Writer that has made 
this observation, and who is not the last politician that has avail- 
ed himself of it to render himself easily it's master, down to Car- 
dinal Rkhlieu, who levelled the feudal power. During this 
long interval our History presents nothing but a series^ of dis- 
sentions, of civil wars, of dissolute manners, of assassinations, 
of Gothic laws, of barbarous customs:, and furnishes nothing 
interesting to the Reader, let the President Henault, who com- 
pares it to the Roman History, say what he will. It is not 
merely because the fictions of the Romans are mere ingenious 
than ours ; it is because we do not find in our History that of 
a People, but only the histor>- of some great family. 

From this however must be excepted the Lives of some good 
Kings, such as those of St. Louis, of Charles V. of Henry IV. 
and of some good Men who are interesting to us, for this very 
reason, that they interested themselves in behalf of the Nation. 
In every other case it is impossible to discover about what the 
Government was employing itself; it studied the interest only of 
the Nobility. The Country was subjugated successively by the 
Romans, the Francs, the Goths, the Alains, the Normans. The 
facility with which France embraced Christianity is a proof that 
she sought in religion a refuge from the miseries of slavery. To 
this sentiment of confidence the Clergy is indebted for the first 
rank which it obtained in the State. But the Clergy soon de- 
generated from their original spirit; and so far from meditating 
the destmction of tyranny, enlisted under the banner of tyrants ; 
adopted all their customs ; assumed their titles ; appropriated 
to themselves their rights and their revenues ; and even made 
use of their arms to maintain interests which were in such di- 
rect opposition to their morality, A great many churches had 
their knights and their champions, who supported their claims 
in single combat. 

It would be unfair to impute to Religion the mischief occa- 
sioned bv the avarice and ambition of her ministers. She her- 


self assists us in detecting their faults, and enjoins us to be on 
our guard against them. The greatest Saints, St. Jerom* among 
others, have exposed and condemned the vices of the clerg)-, 
with more vehemence than ever modern Philosophers have 
done. Much has been written of late to discredit Religion, with 
a view to diminish the power of priests. But, universally, 
wherever she has fallen their power has increased. Religion 
herself alone restrains them within due bounds. Observe in the 
Archipelago and elsewhere, how many fraudulent and lucrative 
superstitions have been substituted by the Greek Papas and 
Caloyers, in place of the spirit of the Gospel! Besides, whatever 
reproach may be cast upon our own clergy they have their an- 
swer ready, namely, that they have been in all ages, like the rest 
of their compatriots, the children of this world. The Nobles, 
Magistrates, Soldiers, nay the Kings themselves of former times 
were no better than they. 

They have been accvised of promoting every where the spirit 
of intolerance, and of aiming at superiority by preaching up hu- 
mility. But most of them, repelled by the world, carry into 
their professional corps that spirit of intolerance of which the 
world set the example, and of which they are the victims ; and 
their ambition frequently is a mere consequence of that univer- 
sal ambition with which national education, and the prejudices 
of society, inspire all the members of the State. 

Without meaning to make their apology, and much less sa- 
tirically to inveigh against them or any body of men whatever, 
whose evils it was not my wish to discover, except for the pur- 
pose of indicating the remedies which seem to be widiin their 
reach, I shall here confine mj-self to a few reflections on Reli- 
gion, which is even in this life the avenger of the wicked, and 
the consolation of the good. 

The world in these days considers Religion as the concern 
only of the vulgar, and as a mere political contrivance to keep 
them in order. Our Philosophers state in opposition to it the 
philosophy o^ Socrates^ o( JLpictetus, of Marcus- Aurelms ; as if 
the morality of those sages were less austere than that of Jesus 
Christ; and as if the benefits to be expected from it were bet- 
tor secured than those of the Gospel ! What profound knowledge 

' ConsTiJt Iiis Letters. 


of the heart of man ; what wonderful adaptation to his necessi- 
ties; what delicate touches of sensibility are treasured up in that 
divine Book ! I leave it's mysteries out of the question. Part 
of them we are told have been taken from Plato. But Plato 
himself borrowed them from Egypt, into which he had travelled ; 
and the Egyptians were indebted for them, as we are, to the 
Patriarchs. These mysteries after all are not more incompre- 
hensible than those of Nature, and than that of our own exist- 
ence. Besides, in our examination of them we inadvertently 
mislead ourselves. We want to penetrate to their source, and 
we are capable only of perceiving their effects. Every superna- 
tural cause is equally impenetrable to man. Man himself is 
only an effect, only a result, only a combination for a moment. 
He is incapable of judging of divine things according to their 
nature ; his judgment of them must be formed according to his 
own nature, and from the correspondence which they have to 
his necessities. 

If we make use of these testimonies of our weakness, and of 
these indications of our heart, in the study of religion, we shall 
find that there is nothing that can pretend to that name on the 
face of the Earth, so perfectly adapted to the wants of human 
nature as the religion of the Bible. I say nothing of the anti- 
quity of it's traditions. The Poets of most Nations, Ovid 
among the rest, have sung the Creation, the happiness of the 
Golden Age, the indiscreet curiosity of the first woman, the 
miseries which issued from PandortCs Box, and the Universal 
Deluge, as if they had copied these histories from the Book of 

To the Mosaic account of the Creation, and the recent exist- 
ence of the World, have been objected the antiquity and the 
multiplicity of certain lavas in volcanos. But have these obser- 
vations been accurately made? Volcanos must have emitted 
their fieiy currents more frequently in the earlier ages, when 
the Earth Avas more covered witli forests, and when the Ocean, 
loaded with it's vegetable spoils, supplied more abundant mat- 
ter to their furnaces. Besides, as I have said in the course of 
this Work, it is impossible for us to distinguish between what is 
old and what is modern in the structure of the World, The 
liand of Creation must have manifested the impress of ages up- 
on it from the moment of it's birth. Were we to suppose it 


eternal, and abandoned to the laws of motion simply, the periotl 
must be long past when there could not have been the smallest 
rising on it's surface. The action of the rains, of the winds 
and of gravity, would have brought down every particle of Land 
to the level of the Seas. 

It is not in the works of GOD, but in those of men, that we 
are enabled to trace epochs. All our monuments announce the 
late Creation of the Earth which we inhabit. If it were, I will 
not say eternal, but of high antiquity only, we should surely 
find some productions of human industry much older than from 
three to four thousand years, such as all those that we are ac- 
quainted with. We have certain substances on which time 
makes no very perceptible alteration. I have seen, in the pos- 
session of the intelligent Count de Caytus^ constellation rings of 
gold, or Egyptian talismans, as entire as if they had just come 
from the hand of the workman. Savages v/ho have no know- 
ledge of iron are acquainted with gold, and search after it as 
much for it's durability as for it's shining colour. Instead then 
of finding antiques of only three or four thousand years, such as 
those of the most ancient Nations, we ought to possess some of 
sixty, of a hundred, of two hundred thousand years. 

Lucretius^ who ascribes the Creation of the World to atoms, 
on a system of Physics altogether unintelligible, admits that it 
is quite a recent production. 

Prseterea, si nulla fuit g'cnitalis orig-o 
Terrai & cocli, semperquc cterna fucrc, 
Cur supra bcUum Thcbanum, & funera Trojx, 
Non alias alii quoque res cecinere Poetae. 

De rerum JVatura, Lib. i). ver. 325 
Thus imitated : 
If g-cnial Nature g'ave the Heavens no birth, 
And from eternal ages roU'd the Earth, 
AVhy neither wars nor Poets — Sages, tell. 
Till Humcv sung, how mighty Hector fell !* 

• I add for the information of the reader, Mr. Mason Good's translation 
qf these lines : 

** Yet grant this heaven, this earth the heaven surrounds, 
" Time ne'er produc'd, eternal of themselves — 
" Wlicncc ere the Thedan war, and fate of Troy 
" Have earlier bards no earlier actions sung ?" 

The Nature of Things : a didactic Poem. vol. ii. Book v. 1. 337—340. 

B. S B. 


*' Had Heaven and Earth known no beginning of existence. 
" but endured from etemit\^, why have we no Poets transmit- 
" ting to us the knowledge of great events prior to the Theban 
" war, and the do-wnfall of Troy ?" 

The Earth is filled with the religious traditions of our Scrip- 
tures : they serve as a foundation to the religion of the Turks, 
the Persians, and the Arabians : they extend over the greatest 
part of Africa : we find them again in Indi*, from whence all 
Nations and all Arts originally proceeded : We can trace them 
in the ancient and intricate religion of the Bramins ;* in the His- 
tory of Brama, or Abraham ; of his wife Sarai, or Sara ; in 
the incarnations of Wistnou, or of Christnou ; in a word, they are 
diffused even among the savage tribes which traverse America. 

I say nothing of the monuments of our Religion, as univer- 
sally diffused as her traditions, one of which, inexplicable on 
the principles of our Physics, proves a general Deluge, by the 
wrecks of marine bodies scattered over the surface of the Globe ; 
the other, irreconcileable to the laws of our Politics, attests the 
reprobation of the Jews, dispersed over all regions, hated, des- 
pised, persecuted, without Government, without a Country ; 
nevertheless always numerous, always subsisting, and always 
tenacious of their Law. To no purpose have attempts been made 
to trace resemblances between their condition and that of seve- 
ral other Nations, as the Armenians, the Guebres, and the 
Banians. But these last-mentioned Nations hardly emigrate 
beyond the confines of Asia : their numbers are extremely in- 
considerable : they are neither hated nor persecuted by other 
Nations ; they have a Country ; and finally, they have not ad- 
hered to the religion of their ancestors. Certain illustrious 
Authors have stated these supernatural proofs of a Divine Jus- 
tice in a very striking light. I shall satisfy myself with addu- 
cing a few more still more affecting, from their correspondence 
to Nature and to the necessities of Mankind. 

The morality of the Gospel has been challenged, because 
Jesus Christ, in the country of the Gadarencs, permitted a 
legion of demons to take possession of a herd of two thousand 
swine, which were thereby precipitated into the Sea, and 
choked. — " Why," ask the objectors, " ruin the proprietors of 

* See Abvahcm Rubers, his History of the Manners of the Bramins. 


" those animals r" Jesus Christ acted in this as a Legislator. 
The persons to whom the swine belonged were Jews ; they 
transgressed, therefore, the Law which declares those animals 
unclean. But here again starts up a new objection, levelled at 
Moses. " Why are those animals pronounced unclean r" Be- 
cause in the Climate of Judea they are subject to the leprosy. 
But here is a fresh triumph for our Wits. " The Law of Mo- 
" ses," say they, " was then relative to Climate ; it could be 
at most, of consequence, a mere political constitution." To this 
I answer, that if I found in either the Old Testament or the 
New, any usage whatever that was not relative to the Laws of 
Nature, I should be still more astonished. It is the character 
of a Religion divinely inspired to be perfectly adapted to the 
happiness of Man, and the LaAVs antecedently enacted by the 
Author of Nature. From this want of correspondence all 
false religions may be detected. And as to the point in ques- 
tion, the Law of Moses, from it's privations, was evidently 
intended to be the Law of a particular People ; whereas that of 
the Gospel, from it's universality, must have been intended for 
the whole Human Race. 

Paganism, Judaism, Mahometanism, have all prohibited the 
use of certain species of animal food : so that if one of those re- 
ligions should become universal, it would produce either total 
destruction, or unbounded multiplication : each of which evident- 
ly would violate the plan of the Creation. The Jews and Turks 
proscribe pork ; the Indians of the Ganges reverence the heifer 
and the peacock. There is not an animal existing which would 
not serve as a Feticha to some Negro, or as a Manitou to some 
Savage. The Christian Religion alone permits the necessar)' 
use of all animals ; and prescribes abstinence from those of the 
Land, only at the season when they are procreating, and when 
those of the Sea abound on the shores early in the Spring.* 

• Is it possible to abstain from smiling ? No, the prejudices of educa- 
tian in a j^ood man excite a serious emotion in a benevolent mind. Brou<»-ht 
up in the habit of abstinence from animal food during the season of Lent, 
good jr. dc Saint-Pierre takes it for granted that tills is an institution of 
Christianity, and endeavours ingeniously to reconcile it to a law of Nature. But 
the trutli is, the Gospel contains no such injunction; and tlje universality of 
that Ucligion i.s still greater than even the enlarged mind of our Author ap- 
prehended, in one respect at How can it be imaglnad <hat Jes-s 

Vol. L Hh 


All religions have filled their temples with carnage, and im- 
molated to Deity the life of the brute creation. The Bramins 
th«nselves, so full of compassion to the beasts, present to their 
idols the blood and life of men. The Turks offer in sacrifice 
camels and sheep. Our Religion, more pure, if we attend 
merely to the matter of the sacrifice, presents in homage to 
GOD bread and wine, which are the most delicious gifts which 
he has bestowed on Man. Nay, here we must observe, that 
the vine, which grows from the Line up to the fifty-second de- 
gree of North Latitude, and from England to Japan, is the 
most widely diffused of all fruit-trees ; that corn is almost the 
only one of alimentary plants which thrives in all Climates ; and 
that the liquor of the one, and the flour of the other, is capable 
of being preserved for ages, and of being transported to ever)' 
corner of the Earth. 

All religions have permitted to men a plurality of women in 
marriage : Christianity permitted but one, long before our Po- 
liticians had observed that the two sexes are born in nearly equal 
numbers. All have boasted of their genealogies ; and regard- 
ing with contempt most other Nations, have permitted their vo- 
taries, when they had it in their power, to reduce them to a 
state of slaver)'. Ours alone has protected the liberty of all 
men, and has called them back to one and the same destination, 

Christ, in fasting so long in the Wilderness, intended to set the example 
of an annual abstinence of the same duration to his disciples ? What Jew 
ever thought of making J\Tuses a pattern in this same respect ? But while I 
regi'et the power of prejudice in another, let me take cai-e that my own be 
overcome ; or if any remain, that they be harmless, or rather on the side of 

In the very next paragraph our Author is betrayed into a similar mistake, 
respecting the nature and design of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, by 
the phrase in use in that Church whose communion lie had from education 
adopted. That ordinance is in Roman Catholic countries denominated the 
sacryfce of the mass. Carried away by the word sacrijice, .1/ de Saint-Pierre 
is led to represent the Christian Worshipper as presenting to GOD in the Sa- 
crament an offering of bread and wine. But it is not so. lie is commanded to 
take and eat, to take and drink, in remembrance of Christ. The sacrifice 
wliich Christianity demands, and which every sincere communicant presents 
to GOD, is the living sacrijice of himself, which St. Paul calls our reasonable: 
service. We meet however with a beautiful train of thought in what follows 
respecting the elementary part of the institution, strongly characteristic of a 
pious, penetrating, and comprehensive mind ; and. which the devout Protes-. 
tant may peruse to advantage.— H H, 


as to one and the same origin. The religion of the Indians 
promises pleasure in this world ; that of the Jews riches ; that 
of the Turks conquest ; ours enjoins the practice of virtue, and 
promises the reward of it in Heaven. Christianity alone knew 
that our unbounded passions were of divine original. It has not 
limited love In the heart of Man to wife and children, but ex- 
tends it to all Mankind: It circumscribes not ambition tQ4:he 
,sphere of a party, to the glory of one Nation, but has directed 
it to Heaven and Immortality : Our Religion intended that our 
passions should minister as wings to our virtues.* So far from 

Relig^ion alone g-ivcs a sublime character to our passions. It diffuses 
charms ineffable over innocence, and communicates a divine majesty to grief. 
Of this I bep leave to quote two instances. The one is exU-acted from an ac- 
count, not in very high estimation, of the island of St. Erini, (chap, xii.) by 
Father Francis Richard, a Jesuit-missionary ; but which contains some things 
that please me from their native simplicity. Of the other I was an eye 

" After dinner," says Father Richard, " I retired to St. George's, which is 
*' tlie principal Church of the Island of Stamphalia. There one of the Rapan 
" presented to me a book of the Gospels, in order to discover if I could read 
'■ their language as well as I spake it. Another came and asked me whether 
" our holy father the Pope were a married man. But I was still more amused 
• by the question of an old woman, who, after looking steadily at me for a 
" considerable time, besought me to tell her if I really believed in GOD and 
" in the Holy Trinity. Yes, said I, and to give her full assurance of it, I 
" made the signi of the cross. O ! how glad am I, says she, that you are a 
" (Christian ! We had some doubts of it. On this I pulled from my bosom the 
" cross which I wore : The woman, quite transported with joy, exclaimed, 
" Why shovdd we any longer call m question his being a good Catholic, see- 
" ing he worships the cross ! After her another applied to me, of whom I 
" asked whether she had a mind to confess. How ! replied she, would it not 
'• be a sin to confess to such gentlemen as you ? No, said I, for though I am 
" French, I confess in Greek. I will go, replied she, and ask our Bishop. In 
" a little while she returned, perfectly delighted at having obtained his per- 
" mission. After confession I gave her an Ji£^ius Dei, which she went about 
" and shewed to every one as a curiosity which they had never seen before. 
" I was presently beset by a multitude of women and children, who pressed 
" me to give them some. I answerd, that those A^-nuses were given only to 
'• such as had confessed. In order to gain their point they instantly offered to 
" confess, and wai.ted to do so by pairs ; that is to say, a young girl with 
" her female confide\it, a young man with his bosom-friend, whom they de- 
*' nominate .^dcljihopeithon, confidential brother, alledging as a reason, that 
" they had but one heart ; and that therefore tiiere ought to be nothing secret 
" between them. It was with difficulty I could separate them ; however 
" tbey wn-c under the necessity of submitting." 


uniting us on Earth, to render us miserable, it is she who 
bursts asunder the chains by which we are held captive. How 
many calamities has she soothed! how many tears has she 
wiped away ! how many hopes has she inspired, when there was 
no longer room for hope ! how many doors of mercy thrown 
open to the guilty ! how many supports given to innocence ! Ah ! 
when our altars arose amidst our forests, ensanguined by the 
knives of the Druids, how the oppressed flocked to them in 
quest of an asylum ! How many irreconcileable enemies there 
embraced with tears ! T}Tants, melted to pity, felt from the 

Some years ago I happened to be at Dieppe, about the time of the autum- 
nal Equinox; and a gale of wind having sprung up, as is common at that 
fceason, I went to look at it's effects on the sea-shore. It might be about 
nooiv Several large boats liad gone out of the harbour in the morning on a 
fishing expedition. While I was observing their mancruvres, I perceived a 
company of country lasses, handsome, as the Cauchoises generally are, com- 
ing out of the city with their long white head-dresses, which the wind set a 
flying about their faces. They advanced playfully to the extremity of the 
pier, which was from time to time covered with the spray excited by the 
dashing of the waves. One of them kept aloof, sad and thoughtful. She 
looked wistfully at the distant boats, some of which were hardly perceptible, 
amidst a verj' bhick Horizon. Her comrades at first began to rally, with 
an intention to amuse her : What, said they, is your sweetheart j-onder ? But 
finding her continue inflexibly pensive, they called out. Come, come, don't let 
us stop any longer here ! Why do you make yourself so uneasy ? Return, re- 
tirrn with us ; and they I'esumed the road that led to town. The young 
woman followed them with a slow pace, without making any reply, and when 
they had got neai'ly out of sight, behind some heaps of pebbcls which are on 
tlie road, she approached a gi-eat crucifix that stands about the middle of the 
pier, took some money out of her pocket, dropped it into the little chest at the 
foot of the cross ; then kneeled down, and with clasped hands and eyes lifted 
up to Heaven put up her prayer. The billows breaking with a deafening- 
noise on the shore, the wind which agitated the large lanterns of the crucifix, 
the danger at sea, the uneasiness on the land, confidence in Heaven, gave to 
the love of this poor country girl an extent and a dignity, which the Palaces 
of the Great cannot communicate to their passions. 

It was not long before her tranquillity returned ; for all the boats gamed the 
harbour a few hours afterward, without having sustained the slightest injury. 
Religion has been frequently calumniated, by having the blame of our po- 
litical evils laid to her chai-ge. Hear what Montague, who lived in the midst 
of those civil wars, says on the subject; " Let us confess the truth : M'^ho. 
" ever should make a draught from the army, even the most legally einbo. 
" died, of those who serve from the zeal of a religious affection, and add to 
" them such as regard only the protection of the laws of their Countiy, or the 
" service of their Prince, would find it difficidt to make up of them one com- 
" plete company o|>oldiers." Esscnjs, Book U. chap. xii. page 317, 


height of,their towers their arms drop from their hands. ITiey 
had known the empire only of terror, and they saw that of 
charity spring up in it's room. Lovers ran thither to mingle 
vows, and to swear a mutual affection, Avhich should survive 
even the tomb. She did not allow a single day to hatred, and 
promised eternity to love. Ah ! if this Rehgion was designed 
only for the consolation of the miserable, it was of course de- 
^jigned to promote that of the Human Race ! 

Whatever may have be^ said of the ambition of the Church 
of Rome, she has frequently interposed in behalf of suffering 
humanity. I produce an instance taken at random, and w^hich 
I submit to the judgment of the reader. It is on the subject of 
the African slave-trade, which is practised without scruple by 
all the Christian and maritime Powers of Europe, and con- 
demned by the Court of Rome. " In the second year of his 
" mission, Merolln was left alone at Sogno, by the death of the 
'■■ Superior General, whose place Father Joseph Busseto went 
" to fill at the Convent of Angola. Much about the same time 
" the Capuchin missionaries received a letter from Cardinal 
" CibOy in name of the sacred College. It contained severe re- 
" proaches on thei continuation of the sale of slaves, and earnest 
" remonstrances to put an end at last to that abominable traffic. 
" But they saw little appearance of having it in their power to 
*' execute the orders of the Holy See, because the commerce of 
" the Country consists entirely in ivory and slaves."* All the 
efforts of the missionaries issued simply in an exclusion of the 
English from a share of the traffic. 

I'he earth would be a paradise, were the Christian Religion 
producing universally it's native effects. It is Christianity which 
has abolished slavery in the greatest part of Europe. It wrested 
in France enormous possessions out of the hands of the Earls 
and Barons, and destroyed there a part of their inhuman rights 
by the terrors of a life to come. But the people opposed still 
another bulwark to t)-ranny, and tliat was the power of the 

Our Historians are at pains to remark the influence which 
some women have had under certain reigns, but never that 

* Extract from the General History of Voyages, by the Abb^ Prevost. Book 
xxii. p;igc 180: Merolla, A. D. 1633. 


of the sex in general. They do not write the Ilistoiy of the 
Nation, but merely the History of the Princes. Women are 
nothing in their eyes miless they are decorated with titles. It 
was however from this feeble division of Society that Provi- 
dence from time to time called forth it's principal defenders. I 
say nothing of those intrepid females who have repelled even 
by arms the invaders of their country, such as Joan of Arc^ to 
whom Rome and Greece would have erected altars : I speak of 
those who have defended the nation from internal foes, much 
more formidable still than foreign assailants ; of those who are 
powerful from their weakness, and who have nothing to fear be- 
cause they have nothmg to hope. 

From the sceptre down to the shepherdesses' crook, there is 
perhaps no country in Europe where women are treated so un- 
kindly by the Laws as in France ; and there is no one where 
they have more power. I believe it is the only kingdom of 
Europe where they are absolutely excluded from the throne. 
In my countiy a father can marry his daughters without giving 
them any other portion- than a chaplet of roses : at his death they 
have all together only the portion of a younger child. This un- 
just distribution of property is common to the clown as to the 
gentleman. In the other parts of the kingdom, if they are rich- 
er, they are not happier. They are rather sold than given in 
marriage. Of a hundred young women who there enter into 
the married state, there is not perhaps one who is united to 
her lover. Their condition was even c;lill more wretched in 
former times. Cesar, in his Commentaries, informs us, " That 
*' the husband had the power of life and death over his wife, 
" as well as over his children ; that when a man of noble 
*•' birth happened to die, the relations of the family assem- 
"bled; if there was the slightest shadow of suspicion against 
*■' his wife, she v/as put to the torture as a slave ; and if found 
" guilty was condemned to the flames, after a previous process 
*'• of inexpressible sufferings."* 

What is singularly strange, at that very time, and even before, 
ihey enjoyed the most unbounded power. Hear what good 
Plutarch says on the subject, as he is communicated to us through 
the medium of the gi-eat Amyot. " Before the Gauls had passed the 

* Gallic Wai-j book vi. 


*' Alps, and got possession of that part of Italy which they now 
" inhabit, a violent and alarming sedition arose among them, 
" which issued in a civil war. But their wives, just as the 
" two armies were on the point of engaging, threw themselves 
" mto the intervening space ; and taking up the cause of their 
" dissention, discussed it with so much wisdom, and decided 

upon it with such moderation and equity, that they gave com- 
*' plete satisfaction to both parties. The result was an unanimous 

return to mutual benevolence and cordial friendship, which 
" reunited not only city to city, but family to family : and this 
" with so much effect, that ever since they invariably consult 
" their wives on all deliberations, whether respecting war or 
" peace ; and they settle all disputes and differences with ncigh- 
" hours and allies conformably to the advice of the women. Ac- 
" cordingly, in the agreement which they made v/ith Hannibal^ 
" when he marched through Gaul, among other stipulations, 
" this was one, that if the Gauls should have occasion to com- 
" plain of any injury done them by the Carthaginians, the cause 
" was to be submitted to the decision of the Carthaginian ofH- 
" cevs and Governors serving in Spain : and if, on the contrar\', 
"the Carthaginians could allege any ground of complaint, 
" against the Gauls, the matter should be left to the determina- 
" tion of the Wives of the Gauls."* 

It will be difficult to reconcile these two clashing authorities, 
unless we pay attention to the re-action of human <lungs. The 
power of women proceeds from their oppression. The com- 
monalty, as oppressed as they, gave them their confidence, a^ 
they had given theirs to the people. Both parties were wretched, 
but misery attracted them toward each other, and they made 
a common stock of woe. They decided with the greater equi- 
ty, that they had nothing to gain or lose. To the women we 
mjList ascribe the spirit of gallantry, the thoughdessncss, the 
gaiet}', and above all the taste for raillery which have at all 
times characterized our Nation. With a song simply they have 
oftener than once made our tyrants tremble. Their ballads 
have sent many a baimer into the field, and put many a batta- 
lion to flight. It is by them that ridicule has acquired such a 
prodigious influence in France, vis to have become the mosr 

• riutai-ch, vol. ii. in ft;lio : Virtuous Actions of Women ; page 2;11 


terrible weapon which it is possible to employ, though it be 
the armour only of the weak, because women are the first to 
lay hold of it ; and as from national prejudice their esteem is 
the first of blessings, it follows that their contempt must be the 
most grievous calamity imaginable.* 

Cardinal Rkhlkn having at last restored to Kings the legis- 
lative authority, thereby stripped the Nobility in a great mea- 
sure of the power of mjuring each other by civil wars ; but he 
was not able to abolish among them the rage for duelling, be- 
cause the root of this prejudice is in the people, and because 
edicts have no power over their opinions when they are oppres- 
sed. The edict of the Prince prohibits the gentleman to go to 
meet his antagonist in single combat, and the opinion of his 
valet-de-chambre forces him out. The nobility arrogate to 
themselves all the national honour, but the people determine for 
them the object of it, and allot it's propoitions. Louis XIV. 
however gave back to the People a part of their natural liberty, 
by means of his very despotism. As he hardly saw any thing 
else in the world except himself, every one appeared to his 
eyes nearly equal. It was his wish that all his subjects should 
have permission to contribute their exertions toward the exten- 
sion of his glory, and he rewarded them in proportion as such 
exertions had promoted this end. The desire of pleasing the 
Prince reduced all to a level. Under that reign of consequence 
were seen multitudes of men of all classes, rendering them- 
selves eminent each in his several way. But the misfortunes 
of that great King, and perhaps his policy, having obliged him 
to descend to the sale of employments, of which the pernicious 
example had been set him by his predecessors, and which has 
been extended since his time to the meanest offices of the State, 

* A provincial Academy some years ago proposed this question as the 
subject for the prize of St. Lout!; : " In what manner female education mig'lit 
" be made to conti-ibute toward rendering men better ?" I treated it, and 
was guilty of committing two faults of ignorance, not to mention otliers. 
The first was, my presuming to write on such a subject, after Fenflon had 
composed an excellent treatise on the education of young women; and the 
second, to think of arguing for truth in an Academy. Tlie one in question 
did not bestow the pi-ize, and recalled it's subject. All that can be said on 
this question is, tliat in every country women are indebted for their empire 
only to their virtues, and to the interest which they have always taken in be- 
half of the miserable. 


this gave the finishing stroke to the ancient prcponderancy of 
the Nobility ; but it gave rise in the Nation to a power much 
more dangerous ; that of gold. This, this has levelled every 
rival influence, and triumphed over even the power of women.* 

And first, the Nobility, having preserved a part of their pri- 
vileges in the country ; trades-people possessed of some for- 
tune do not chuse to live there, for fear of being exposed on 
the one hand to insult, and of being confounded on the other 
with the peasantry, by paying tallage and drawing for the mili- 
tia. They like better to live in small cities, where a multitude 
of financial employments and revenues enable them to subsist 
in indolence and listlcssncss, rather than to vivify the fields 
M'hich degrade their cultivators. Hence it comes to pass that 
small landed estates sink in value, and are year after year fall- 
ing into the hands of the great proprietors. The rich, who 
make the purchases of them, parry the inconveniencies to which 
they are subject, either by their personal nobility, or by buy- 
ing off the imposts under which they labour. 

I know well that a celcbi-ated Farmer-general some years 
ago greatly cried up the over-grown proprietors, because, as he 
alleged, they could afford to give a better bargain than the 
smaller : but without considering whether they could sell com 
cheaper, and all the other consequences of the nett produce^ 
which attempts have been made to establish as the alone stan- 
dard and object of agriculture, nay of morality ; it is certain, 
d\at if any given number of wealthy families were year after 
year to purchase the lands which might lie commodiously for 
them, such family bargains would speedily become fatal to the 

* As most men are shocked at abuses only by seeing them in detail, be- 
cause every thing' great dazzles and commands respect, I shall here produce 
a few instances of the efl'ect of venality in the lower orders of Society. All 
these subaltern conditions which naturally rank under otliers of rig-ht, are 
become the superiors, in fact, merely because they are the richer. Accord- 
ing'ly it ic the Apothecary now-a-days who has the employing of the Physi- 
rian ; the Attorney of the Advocate ; tlie Handicraft of the Merchant; the 
Master -mason of the Architect ; the Bookseller of the Scholar, even those 
of tlie Academy ; the Chair-hirer in Church of the Preacher, 8ic. I shall say 
na more. It is easy to see to what all this leads. From this venality alone 
must ensue the decline of all talents. It is in fact abundantly perceptible, on 
I ompaiing- these of the age jii which we live with those of the age cf Luuit 

Vol. I. I i 


State. I hav'e often been astonished that there is no law in 
France to prevent the unbounded accumulation of landed pro- 
perty. The Romans had censors, who limited in the first in- 
stance the extent of a man's possession to seven acres, as being 
sufficient for the subsistence of one famil)-. By the word which 
we translate acre, Avas understood as much land as a yoke of 
oxen could plough in one divy. As Rome increased in luxury, 
it was extended to five hundred : but even this Law, though 
indulgent in the extreme, was soon infringed, and the infrac- 
tion hurried forward the ruin of the Republic. 

" Extensive parks," says Pliny^^ " and unbounded domains, 
" have ruined our own Italy, and the Provinces which the Ro- 
" mans have conquered : for that which occasioned the victories 
" obtained by Nero (the Consul) in Africa was simply this, six 
" men were in possession of almost one half of Numidia when 
" Nero defeated them." Plutarch informs us, that in his time, 
under Trajan^ you could not have raised three thousand men 
in all Greece, which had formerly furnished armies so nume- 
rous ; and that you might have sometimes travelled a whole 
day on the high roads without meeting a human being, except 
ROW and then a straggling solitary shepherd. The reason Avas, 
Greece had by this time been parcelled out among a few great 

Conquerors have alwa}s met with a Aery feeble resistance in 
countries Avhere property is \-ery unequally divided. We have 
examples of this in all ages, from the invasion of the Lower- 
Empire by the Turks doAvn to that of Poland in our OAvn days. 
Overgrown estates destroy the spirit of patriotism at once in 
those who have e\'ery thing, and in those Avho have nothing. 
" The shocks of corn," said Xenophon^ " inspire those Avho 
" raise them Avith courage to defend them. The siglit of them 
" in the fields is as a prize exhibited in the middle of the thca- 
" tre, to croAvn the conqueroi\" 

Such is the danger to Avhich excessiAX' inequality of property 
exposes a State outAvardly ; let us take a look of the internal 
mischief which it produces. I have heard a person of un- 
doubted veracity relate, that an old Comptroller-general having 
retired to his native province, made a very considerable pur- 

* Natural History, Book sv;ii. cliap. iii. and vi. 


chase in land. His estate was suiTounded by about fifty small 
manors, the annual rent of which might be from fifteen hundred 
to two thousand livres each.* The proprietors of these were 
good country gentlemen, who had through a succession of ge- 
nerations supplied their Country with gallant officers and re- 
spectalile matrons. The Comptroller-general, desirous of ex- 
tending his landed property, invited them to his castle, enter- 
tained them magnificently, gave them a taste for Parisian luxu- 
ry, and concluded with an offer of double the value of their 
estates, if they thought proper So dispose of them. They to a 
man accepted his offer, imagining they were going to double 
their revenue, and in the hope, no less fallacious to a country 
gentleman, of securing a powerful protector at Court. But the 
difficulty of laying out their money to advantage, a taste for 
elegant expense, inspired by the sight of sums of money such 
as they never before had in their coffers, in a word, frequent 
journies to Paris, and back to the countr}^, soon melted away 
the price of their patrimony. These resjxjctable families dis- 
appeared one after another ; and thirty years afterward, one of 
their descendants, who could reckon among his ancestors a long 
succession of captains of dragoons, and knights of St. Louisy 
was found scampei-ing over his paternal inheritance, soliciting 
the place of keeper of a salt-office, to keep him from starving. 

Such are the mischiefs produced among the citizens *of a 
country by the excessive accumulation of property. Those 
prockiced on the state of the lands are not less to be deplored. I 
was some years ago in Normandy, at the house of a gentleman 
in affluent circumstances, who cultivated himself a very consi- 
derable grass-farm, situated on a rising ground, of a very indif- 
ferent soil. He walked me round his vast enclosure, till we 
came to a large space completely over-run with mosses, horse- 
tall, and thistles. Not a blade of good grass was to be seen. 
'I'iic soil, in truth, was at once ferruginous and marshy. They 
had intersected it with many trenches, to drain off the water, but 
all to no purpose : nothing could grow. 

Immediately below there Mas a series of small farms, the face 
of which was closed with gi-assy verdure, planted with apple- 
trees in fall fruit, and enclosed with tall alder-trees. The c<jws 

* About from si\ly to fourscore guineas. 


were feeding among the trees of the orchards, while the toua- 
tr}'-gir!s sung as they were spinning around the door. These 
" native wood-notes wild," repeated from distance to distance 
under the shade of the trees, communicated to this little hamlet 
a vivacity which increased still more the nakedness and the de- 
pressing solitude of the spot where we were. I asked it's pos- 
sessor, How it came to pass that lands so contiguous should 
present an aspect so very different? 

" They are," replied he, " of the self-same nature, and there 
*' formerly were on this very sjpt small houses similar to those 
" which you see below. I made a purchase of them, but sadly to 
*' my loss. Their late inhabitants having abundance of leisure, and 
" a small compass of ground on their hands, cleared away the 
*' mosses, the thistles, manured it ; vip sprung the grass. Had 
" they a mind to plant? They dug holes, they removed the 
" stones, and filled them v/ith good mould, which they went to 
" collect from the bottom of the ditches, and along the high- 
" way's side. Their trees took root and prospered. But all 
*' these necessary operations cost me incredible time and ex- 
*' pense. I never was able to make the common interest of my 
" money." 

I am bound in justice to remark, that this wretched steward, 
but excellent gentleman, in every sense of that word, was at that 
very time relieving by his charity most of those ancient farmers 
now disabled to earn a livelihood. Here then is another in- 
stance of both men and lands rendered useless by the injudicious 
extension of property. It is not upon the face of vast domin- 
ions, but into the bosom of industry, that the Father of Man- 
kind pours out the precious fruits of the Earth. 

I could easily demonstrate that enormous property is the 
principal cause of the multiplication of the poor all over the 
kingdom, for the very reason which has procured it the eulogi- 
um of many of our Writers, namely, that it spares men the la- 
bours of Agriculture. There are many places where there is 
no employment to give the peasantry during a considerable part 
of the year ; but I shall insist only on their wretchedness, which 
seems to increase with the riches of the district where their 
lot is cast. 

The district of Caux is the most fertile country which I know 
in the World. Agriculture, on the great scale, is there carried 


to the height of perfection. The deepness of the soil, which in 
some places extends to five and six feet ; the manure supplied 
from the stratum of marie over which it is raised, and that of 
the marine plants on it's shores, which are spread over it's sur- 
face, concur toward clothing it with the noblest vegetables. The 
corn, the trees, the cattle, the women, are there handsomer and 
more vigorous than any where else. But as the Laws have 
assigned in that province in every family two-thirds of the 
landed property to the first-born, you find there imbounded af- 
fluence on the one hand, and extreme indigence on the other. 

I happened one day to be walking through this fine country ; 
and admired as I went it's plains so well cultivated, and so ex- 
tensive, that the eye loses itself in the unbounded prospect. 
Their long ridges of corn, humouring the undulations of the 
plain, and terminating only in villages, and castles surrounded 
with venerable trees, presented the appearance of a sea of ver- 
dure, with here and there an island rising out of the Horizon. 
It was in the month of March, and very early in the morning. 
It blew extremely cold from the North-east. I perceived 
something red running across the fields at some distance, and 
making toward the great road, about a quarter of a league be- 
fore me. I quickened my pace, and got up in time enough to 
see that they were two little girls in red jackets and wooden 
shoes, who with much difficulty were scrambling through the 
ditch which bounded the road. The tallest, who might be about 
six or seven years old, was crying bitterly. " Child," said I to 
her, " what makes you cry, and whither are you going at so 
" early an hour?" " Sir," replied she, " my poor mother is very 
" ill. There is not a mess of broth to be had in all our parish. 
" We are going to that church in the bottom to try if the Cure 
" of this parish can find us some. I am crying because my lit- 
" tie sister is not able to walk any farther." As she spake, she 
wiped her eyes with a bit of canvas which served her for a pet- 
ticoat. On her raising up the rag to her face, I could perceive 
that she had not the semblance of a shift. The abject misery 
of the children, so poor, in the midst of plains so fruitful, wrung 
my heart. The relief which I could administer to them was 
small indeed. I myself was then on my way to see miser}-^ in 
other forms. 


The number of wretches is so great in the best cantons of this 
province, that they amount to a fourth, nay to a third of the 
inhabitants in every parish. The evil is continually on the in- 
crease. These observations are founded on my personal expe- 
rience, and on the testimony of many parish-ministers of un- 
doubted veracity. Some Lords of the Manor order a distribu- 
tion of bread to be made once a week to most of their peasantry, 
to eke out their livelihood. Ye stewards of the public, reflect 
that Normandy is the richest of our provinces ; and extend your 
calculations and your proportions to the rest of the Kingdom ! 
Let the morality of the financier supersede that of the Gospel ; 
for my own part, I desire no better proof of the superiority of 
Religion to the reasonings of Philosoph}-, and of the goodness of 
the national heart to the enlarged views of our policy, than this, 
that notwithstanding the deficiency imputable to our laws and 
our errors, in almost e^ery respect, the State continues to sup- 
port itself, because charit}- and humanitv almost constantly inter- 
pose in aid of Government. 

Picardy, Brittany, and other provinces, are incomparably 
more to be pitied than Normandy. If there be twenty-one 
millions of persons in France, as is alleged, there must be then 
at least seven millions of paupers. This proportion by no means 
diminishes in the cities, as may be concluded from the number 
of foundlings in Paris, which amounts one year with another to 
six or seven thousand, Avhereas the number of children not aban- 
doned by their parents does not exceed in that great city four- 
teen or fifteen thousand. And it is reasonable to suppose, that 
among these last there must be a very considerable proportion 
the progeny of indigent families. The others are partly, it must 
be admitted, the fruit of libertinism ; but irregularity in morals 
proves equally the misery of the people, and even more power- 
full}', as it constrains them at once to renounce \irtue, and to 
stifle the very first feelings of Nature. 

The spirit of finance has accumulated all these woes on the 
head of the People, by stripping them of most of the means of 
subsistence ; but Avhat is infinitely more to be regretted, it has 
sapped the foundations of their morality. It no longer esteems 
or commends any but those who are making a fortune. If any 
respect be still paid by it to talents and virtue, this is the only 


reason, it considers these as one of the roads to wealth. Na\ , 
what in the phrase of the world is called good company, has 
hardly any other way of thinking. But I should be glad to 
know, whether there be any honourable method of making 
u fortune, for a man who has not already got money, in a 
country where every thing is put up to sale. A man must at 
least intrigue, unite himself to a party and flatter it, secure puf- 
fers and protectors ; and for this purpose he must be dishonest, 
corrupt, he must adulate, deceive, adopt another man's passions, 
good or bad ; in a word, let himself down in one shape or ano- 
ther. I have seen persons attain eveiy variety of situation ; but 
I speak it without reserve, whatever praise may have been be- 
stowed on their merit, and though many of them really had 
merit, I never saw any one, even of the strictest honour, raise 
himself and preserve his situation, but by the sacrifice of some 

Let us now look at the re-actions of those evils. The people 
usuallv balance the vices of their oppressors by their own. Thev 
oppose corruption to corruption. From the prolific womb of 
vulgar debaudiery issues a monstrous swarm of buftbons, com-j- 
dians, dealers in luxury of every sort, nay even men of letters, 
who to flatter the rich, and to save themselves from indigence, 
extend dissipation of manners and of opinions to the remotest 
exti-emity of Europe. In tlie class of the unmarried vulgar we 
find the most powerful bulwark opposed to rank and wealth. As 
this is a \ery numerous body, and comprehends not only the 
youth of both sexes, who with us do not form early marriages, 
but an infinite number of meai besides, who from peculiarity of 
condition, or want of fortune, are deprived, as voulh must be, 
of the honours of Societ}-, and of the first pleasures of Nature, 
they constitute a formidable association, which has all reputa- 
tions at their mercy, together with the power of disturbing the 
peace of all families. These are the persons Avho retail for a 
dinner that inexhaustible collection of anecdotes, favourable or 
unta\ourable, which are in every instance to regulate public 

It is not in the power of a rich man to marry a handsome wife, 
and enjoy liimself at home in his o^^-n way ; those persons la\ 
him under the necessity, unless he would be laughed at, that is, 
under pain of the severest evil which can befall a Frenchman, 


of making his wife the central point of all fashionable society ; 
he must exhibit her at all public places ; and must adopt the 
manners which his plebeian dictators think proper to prescribe, 
however contradictory they may be to Nature, and however in- 
consistent with conjugal felicity. While, as a regularly embo- 
died army, they dispose of the reputation and the pleasures of 
the rich, two of the columns attack their fortune in front, in two 
different ways. The one employs the method of intimidation, 
and the other that of seduction. 

I shall not here confine my reflections to the power and 
wealth which are gradually acquired by several religious orders, 
but extend them to their number in general. Some politicians 
pretend, that France would become too populous were there no 
convents in it. Are England and Holland over-peopled, where 
there is no such thing as a convent ? It betrays besides little ac- 
quaintance with the resources of Nature. The more inhabitants 
that any country contains, the more productive it is. France 
could maintain, perhaps four times more people than it now con- 
tains, were it like China, parcelled out into a great number of 
small freeholds. We must not form our judgment of it's fer- 
tility from it's immense domains. Those vast deserted dis- 
tricts yield only one crop in two years, or at most two in three. 
But with how many crops, and how many men, are small tene- 
ments covered ! Observe in the vicinity even of Paris the mea- 
dow-land of St Gervais. The soil is in general of a middling 
quality ; and notwithstanding there is no species of vegetable 
which our Climate admits of, but what the industry of cultiva- 
tion is there capable of producing. You see at once fields of 
com, meadow-grounds, kitchen-gardens, flower-pots, fruit-trees, 
and stately forest-trees. I have seen there in the same field 
cherry-trees growing in potatoe-beds ; vines clambering up along 
the cherry-trees, and lofty walnut-trees rising above the vines ; 
four crops, one above another, within the earth, upon the earth, 
and in the air. No hedge is to be seen there, separating pos- 
session from possession, but what present an inter-communica- 
tion worthy of the Golden Age. 

Here a young rustic, with a basket and ladder, mounts a fruit- 
tree, like another Vertwyinus ; while some young girl in a wind- 
ing of the adjoining valley sings her song loud enough to be 
heard by him, presenting the image of another Pomona. If cruel 


prejudices have stricken with sterility and soUtudc a conside- 
rable part of France, and have henceforth allotted the possession 
of a great kingdom to a little handful of proprietors, how is it 
that instead of Founders of new orders, Founders of new colo- 
nies do not arise among us, as among the Egyptians and the 
Greeks? Shall France never have to boast of an Inachus^ and of 
a Danaus ? Why do we force the African tribes to cultivate 
our lands in America, while our own peasantry is starving for 
want of employment at home ? Why do we not transport thither 
our miserable poor by families ; children, old men, lovers, cou- 
sins, nay the very churches and saints of our villages, that they 
may find in those far distant lands the loves and the illusions of 
a country. 

Ah ! had liberty and equality been invited to those regions, 
where Nature does so much with moderate cultivation, the cot- 
tages of the New World would at this day have been prefera- 
ble to the palaces of the Old. Will another Arcadia never 
spring up in some comer of the Earth? When I imagined I had 
some influence with men in power, I endeav'oured to exert it in 
projects of this nature ; but I have never had the felicity of fall- 
ing in with a single one who took a warm interest in the hap- 
piness of Mankind. I have endeavoured to trace at least the 
plan of them, as a legacy to those who shall come after me, but 
the clouds of calamity have spread a gloom over my own life ; 
and the possibility of enjo3'ing happiness, even in a dream, is no 
longer my portion. 

Politicians have considered war itself as necessary to a State, 
because, as they pretend, it takes off the superflux of Mankind, 
in general these gentlemen have a very limited knowledge of 
Human Nature. Independent of the resources of the sub-di- 
vision of property into small allotments, which every where mul- 
tiply the fruits of the Earth, we may rest assured that there is 
no country but what has the means of emigration within it's 
reach, especially since the discovery of the New World. Be- 
sides, there is not a single State, even among those which are 
best peopled, but v/hat contains immense tracks of uncultivated 
land. China and Bengal are, I believe, the countries on the 
Globe which contain most inhabitants. In China, nevertheless, 
are mimy and extensive deserts amidst it's finest provinces, be- 
cuuse avarice attracts those who should cultivate them to the vi- 

VoL. I. K k 


cinity of great rivers, and to the cities, for the conveniency of 
commerce. Many enlightened travellers have made this ob- 

Hear what the honest Dutchman, Walter Schouten^ says of the 
deserts of Bengal. " Toward the South, along the sea-coast, 
" at the mouth of the Ganges, there is a very considerable ex- 
" tent of territory desert and uncultivated, from the indolence 
" and inactivity of the inhabitants, and also from the fear which 
" they are under of the incursions of those of Arracan ; and of 
" the crocodiles and other monsters which devour men, hirking 
" in the deserts, by the sides of brooks, of rivers, of morasses, 
" and in caverns."* Obstacles very inconsiderable, it must be 
allowed, in a Nation where Fathers sometimes sell their chil- 
dren for want of the means of supporting them ! Bernier^ the 
physician, remarks likewise, in his travels over the Mogul 
Empire, that he found a great many but deserted islands at the 
mouth of the Ganges. 

We must ascribe in general to the excessive number ot 
bachelors, that of profligate women ; who universally are in ex- 
act proportion to each other. This evil too is the effect of a 
natural re-action. As the two sexes are born and die in nearly 
equal numbers, every man comes into the world and leaves it 
in company with his female. Every man therefore who prefers 
celibacy to the married state, dooms a female at the same time 
to a single life. The ecclesiastical order robs the sex of so 
many husbands; and the social order deprives them of the 
means of subsistence. Our manufactures and machinerj'-, so 
ingeniously industrious, have swallowed up almost all the arts 
by which they were formerly enabled to earn a livelihood. 1 
do not speak of those who knit stockings, embroider, weave, 
Sec. employments which in better times so many worthy matrons 
followed, but which are now entirely engrossed by persons bred 
to the business ; but we have, forsooth ! taylors, shoe-makers, 
male hair-dressers for the ladies. We have men-milliners, 
dealers in linen, gauze, muslin, gum-flowers. Men are not 
ashamed to assume to themselves the easy and commodious oc- 
cupations, and to leave to the poor women the rougher and 
more laborious. We have female dealers in cattle, in pigs, 

Waltar Schoiitcn's Voyage to the East Indies, vol. ii. pa^e 154. 


ilriving through fairs on horseback : there are others who vend 
bricks, and navigate barges, quite embrowned with the sun; 
some even labour in quarries. 

We meet muhitudes in Paris sweating under an enormous 
load of linen, under heavy water-pails, blacking shoes on the 
quays ; others yoked like beasts to little carts. Thus the sexes 
unsex themselves ; the men dwindle into females, the women 
harden into men. The greatest part of females in truth would 
rather turn their charms to account than their strength. But 
what mischief is every day produced by women of the town ! 
What conjugal infidelity, what domestic plunder, what quarrel- 
ling, beating, duelling, do they occasion! Scarcely has night be- 
gun to spread her curtain, when every street is inundated with 
them ; every place of resort swarms with these unhappy crea- 
tures : at every corner they lie in wait for their prey. Others of 
them known by the name, now of some consideration among the 
vulgar, of kept mistresses^ loll it away to the opera and play- 
house in magnificent equipages. They take the lead at the 
balls and festivals of the better sort of our trades-folks. For 
them in part arise in the suburbs, in the midst of gardens in the 
English taste, gay alcoves in the Egyptian stile. Every one of 
them bent on melting down a fortune. It is thus GOD punishes 
the oppressors of a People by the oppressed. While the rich 
are dreaming that they are expending their substance in tran- 
quillity, men springing from the dregs plunder them in their 
turns by the torments of opinion : if they are so fortunate as to 
escape these, fall they must into the hands of abandoned wo- 
men ; who, if they should happen to miss the fathers make sure 
of indemnifying themselves upon the children. 

An attempt has been made for some years past to give en- 
couragement to virtue, in our poor country girls, by festivals 
called Rosiei-s (rose-feasts) ; for as to those who are rich, and 
our city dames in business, the respect which they owe to their 
fortune permits them not to put themselves on a level with the 
female peasantry, even at the foot of the altar. But you who 
bestow crowns on virtue, arc you not afraid of blighting the 
prize by your touch ; Know you not that among Nations wlio 
really honour virtue, the Prince only, or the voice of the country, 
presumed to confer the crown ? The pro-consul Apronius refu- 
sed the civic crown to a soldier who had merited it, because he 


considered this privilege as belonging only to the Emperor. Ti- 
berhis bestowed it, finding fault with Apronhis for not having 
done it, in quality of Pro-consul.* Have you been informed in 
what respect virginity was held among the Romans ? The ves- 
tals had the maces of the Praetors borne before them. We have 
mentioned on a former occasion that their presence merely bes- 
towed a pardon on the criminal going to execution, provided 
that the Vestals could affirm they did not pass that way express- 
ly for the purpose. They had a particular bench allotted them 
at the public festivals ; and several Empresses requested, as the 
highest honour which they could aspire to, permission to sit 
among them. And our Paris trades-people too crown our rustic 
Vestals! I Noble and generous effort! They bestow a gar- 
land of roses upon indigent virtue in the country ; while in the 
city vice flaunts about glittering with diamonds. 

On the other hand, the punishments of guilt appear to me as 
injudiciously adjusted as the rewards of virtue. We too fre- 
quenty hear called aloud in our streets these terrible words. The 
sentence of condeynnation ! but never, the sentence of rexvard. 
Crimes are repressed by infamous punishments. A simple 
brand inflicted, instead of reforming the criminal, frequently 
plunges him deeper in guilt, and not seldom drives his whole 
family headlong into vicious courses. Where, let me ask, can 
an unhappy wretch find refuge, who has been publicly whipped, 
branded, and drummed out ? Necessity has made him a thief ; 
indignation and despair will hurry him on to murder. His re- 
lations, dishonoured in the public estimation, abandon their 
home, and become vagabonds. His sister£ give themselves up 
to prostitution. 

These effects of the fear which the hangman impresses on the 
lower orders, are considered as prejudices salutaiy to them. 
But they produce, as far as I am able to judge, unspeakable 
mischief. The vulgar extend them to actions the most indiffer- 
ent, and convert them into a bitter aggravation of misery. Of 
this I witnessed an instance on board a vessel, in which I was 

* Annals of Tacitus, book iii. year 6. 

t They condescend likewise to permit the youthful peasants to eat at the 
same table with themselves, for that day. See tlie journals of these festivities, 
wliich break out into raptures on such occasions 

STUDY Vir. 261 

a passenger, on my return from the Isle of France. I observ^ed 
that not one of the sailors would eat in company with the cook 
of the ship ; they hardly deigned even to speak to him. I en- 
quired the reason of this at the Captain. He told me, that being 
at Pegu about six months before, he had left this man on shore 
to take charge of a warehouse which the people of the country 
had lent him. When night came on these people locked the 
door of it, and carried home the key with them. The store- 
keeper being on the inside, and not having it in his power to go 
out to disburthen nature, was under the necessity of easing 
himself in a comer. Unfortunately this warehouse was likewise 
a church. In the morning the proprietors came and opened the 
door ; but observing that the place was polluted, they fell upon 
the poor store-keeper, with loud exclamations, bound him fast, 
and delivered him over to the executioner, who would have 
immediately hanged him, unless the Captain of the vessel, se- 
conded by a Portugueze Bishop, who was also the King's 
brotlier, had hastened to interpose in his behalf, and saved him 
from the gallows. From that moment the sailors considered 
their countryman as degraded, from having pa«ied, as they al« 
leged, through the hands of the hangman. 

This prejudice did not exist among either the Greeks or 
Romans. There are no traces of it among the Turks, the 
Russians, and the Chinese. It docs not proceed from a sense 
of honour, nor even from the shame of guilt ; it is attached 
only to the species of punishment. The decapitation of a man 
for the crimes of treason and perfidy, or his being shot for de- 
sertion, are considered as no stigma on the family of the person 
thus punished. The people, sunk below their level, despise that 
only which is peculiar to themselves, and show no pity in their 
decisions, because they are miserable. 

The wretchedness of the lower orders is therefore the princi- 
pal source of our physical and moral maladies. There is another, 
no less fertile in mischief, I mean the education of children. 
This branch of political economy engaged among the Ancients 
the attention of the greatest Legislators. The Persians, the 
Egyptians, and the Chinese, made it the basis of their Govern- 
ment. On this foundation Lycurgus reared the fabric of the 
Spartan Repulilic. We may even go so far as to affirm, tliat 
wherever there is no national education, there is no durable le- 


gislation. With us education has no manner of reference to the 
constitution of the State. Our most celebrated Writers, such 
as Montague^ Fenelon, yohn jfatnes Rousseau and others, have 
been abundantly sensible how defective our police is in this 
respect : but despairing perhaps of effecting a reformation, they 
have preferred offering plans of private and domestic education, 
to patching up the old method, and adapting it to all the absur- 
dities of the present state of Society. For my own part, as I 
am tracing up our evils to their source, only in the view of ex- 
culpating Nature, and in the hope that some favoured genius 
may one day arise to apply a remedy, I find myself farther 
engaged to examine into the influence of education on our par- 
ticular happiness, and on that of our Country in general. 

Man is the only sensible being who forms his reason on con- 
tinual observations. His education begins with life, and ends 
only with death. His days would fleet away in a state of per- 
petual uncertainty, unless the novelty of objects, and the flexi- 
bility of his brain gave, to the impressions of his early years, a 
character not to be effaced. At that period of life are formed 
the inclinations and the aversions which influence the whole of 
our existence. Our first affections are likewise the last. They 
accompany us through the events with which human life is va- 
riegated. They re-appear in old age, and then revive the sen- 
sibilities of childhood with still greater force than those of ma- 
ture age. Early habits have an influence even on animals, to 
such a degree as to extinguish their natural instinct. Lycurgufi 
exhibited a striking example of this to the Lacedemonians, in 
the case of two hounds taken from the same litter, in one of 
which education had completely triumphed over Nature. But 
I could produce still stror.ger instances in the Human Species, 
in which early habit is found triumphant sometimes even over 
ambition. History furnishes innumerable examples to this pur- 
pose ; I beg leave to produce one which has not yet obtained a 
place in the historic page, and which is apparently of no great 
importance, though it be highly interesting to myself, because 
it brings to my recollection persons v/ho were justly dear to me. 

When I was in the Russian service, I frequentl}- had the 
pleasure of dining at the table of his Excellency M. de Vilkhois^^ 

* J^iolaa de Villeboh was a native of Finland, but descended from a Frencli 
i'amlly criglnally from Britanny. iw the battle cf Fraiicfort lie turned the tide 


Grand Master of Artiller\', and General of the coi-ps of engi- 
neers to which I belonged. I observ^ed that there was every- 
day served up to him a plate of something gray-coloured, I could 
not tell what, and similar in form to small pebbles. He ate 
very heartily of this dish, but never presented it to any one at 
table ; though his entertainments were always given in the most 
elegant style, and every other dish was indiscriminately recom- 
mended to his guests, of whatever rank. He one day perceived 
me looking attentively at his favourite mess ; and asked, with 
a smile, if I would please to taste it. I accepted his offer, and 
found that it consisted of little balls of curdled milk, salted, and 
besprinkled with anise-seeds, but so hard and so tough that it 
cost me inexpressible exertion to force my teeth through them, 
to swallow them down was absolutely impossible. 

" These are," said the Grand Master to me, " the cheeses 

of victory decidedly In favour of Russia, by charging the Prussians at the 
head of a regiment of fusUeers of tlie artillery, of v/hlch he was then Colonel. 
Tills action, joined to his personal merit, procured for him the blue ribbon of 
St. Andrew, and soon after the place of Grand Master of the Ordnance, which 
he held at the time of my arrival in Russia. Though his credit was tlien on 
tiic decline, he procured me an admission into the service of her Imperial 
\rajcsly Catharine 11. and did me the honour of presenting me to lier as one 
of the officers of his corps of engineers. lie was making arrangements, in 
concert with General Daniel de Boaqriet, Commander in Chief of the corps of 
engineers, for my farther promotion in it. They both employed all their 
powers of persuasion to retain me lAtliat service, and endeavoured to render 
it agi'ceable by every afRictionate and polite attention, and by assurances of 
an honourable and advantageous establishment. But the love which I had to 
my country, in whose service 1 was previously engaged, and to which I still 
wished to <levoi:c my services, a fond wish, fed with vain hopes, by men of 
very high character, induced me to persist in demanding my dismission, wliich 
I obtained, with Captain's rank, in 1765. 

On leaving Russia, I made an effort to serve my country at my own expense, 
by joining that party in Poland which France had espoused. There I was 
exposed to very great risks, having been made prisoner by the Polonese-Rus- 
siiin party. On my return to Paris, I presented memorials respecting the 
state of things in the North to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in which I 
predicted the future partition of Poland by the Powers contiguous. Thif 
pajlition p.ctually took place some years afterward. I have since endeavour- 
ed to deserve well of my country by my services, both military, in the West- 
Indies in my capacity of Captain of tlie Royal Engineers, and literary, in 
France, and I add with confidence, by my conduct likewise : but I have not 
hitherto enjoyed the felicity of experiencing, in ray fortune, that my country 
has been plc;.sed graciously to accept tlic various sacrifices which I saw it my 
duty to make to ber. 


" of my native country. It is a taste which I acquired in my 
" boytsh days. I was accustomed, when a child, to feed with 
" the peasants on these coarse milk beverages. When I am 
" travelling, and have got to a distance from great towns, on 
" coming near a country village, I send on my servants and car- 
" riages before ; and then my great delight is to go unattended, 
" and carefully muffled up in my cloak, into the house of the 
" first peasant on the road, and devour an earthen pot-full of 
" curdled milk, stuffed full of brown bread. On my last jour- 
" ney into Livonia, on one of those occasions, I met with an 
** adventure which amused me very highly. While I was 
" breakfasting in this style, in comes a man singing cheerly, and 
" carrying a parcel on his shoulder. He sat down by me, and 
" desired the landlord to give him a breakfast such as mine. I 
" asked this traveller so gay, whence he came, and which way 
" he was going. I am a sailor^ says he, and just arrived from 
" a voijage to India; I disembarked at Riga^ and am on my re- 
" turn to Herland, ivhich is my native country^ where I have not 
" been these three years. I shall stay there till I have spent these 
" hundred crowns^ pulling out a leathern bag, and chinking the 
" money. I asked him several questions about the countries he 
" had seen, which he answered very pertinently. But,, said I 
" to him, xvhat zvill you do xvhen your hundred croxvns are gone ? 
" Oh I says he, I xvill return to Holland^ embark again for India,, 
" earn another bag of croxvns,, come back and enjoy myself in 
" Herlayid,, in Franconia,, mij native country. The good humour 
" and thoughtlessness of the fellow diverted me exceedingly," 
continued the Grand Master. " To confess the truth, I envied 
" his situation." 

Wise Nature, in giving so much force to early habits, inten- 
ded that our happiness should depend on those v/ho are most 
concerned to promote it, that is, oui- parents ; for on the affec- 
tions which they at that season inspire, depends the affection 
which we are one day to be called upon to return. But with us, 
as soon as the child is born, he is transferred to a mercenary 
imrse. The first bond, which Nature intended should attach 
him to his parents, is burst asunder before it is formed. The 
day will come, perhaps, when he will behold the funeral proccs- 
Mon of those who gave him birth leave his father's door with as 
much indifference as they saw his cradle turned out. He may 


be recalled home, it is true, at the age when the graces, when 
innocence, when the necessity of having an object of affection 
should fix him there for ever. But he is permitted to taste 
those sweets, only to make him feel in a little while the bitter- 
ness of having them taken away from him. He is sent to school; 
he is put to board far from home. There he is doomed to shed 
tears which no maternal hand is ever more to wipe away. It 
is there he is to fonn friendships with strangers, pregnant with 
regret and repentance ; and there he must learn to extinguisli 
the natural affections of brother, of sister, of father, of mother, 
which are the most powerful, and the sweetest chains by which 
Nature attaches us to our country. 

After this first horrid outrage committed on his young heart, 
others equally violent are offered to his understanding. His 
tender memory must be loaded with ablatives, with conjunctions, 
with conjugations. The blossom of human life is sacrificed to 
the metaphysical jargon of a dead language. What Frenchman 
could fyubmit to the torture of learning his own in that manner? 
And if there be those who have exercised such laborious pa- 
tience, do they speak better than persons who have never en- 
dured such drudgery? Who writes best; a lady of the Court, 
or a pedantic grammarian ? 3Iontagne^ so replenished with the 
ancient beauties of the Latin tongue, and who has given so much 
energy to our own, congratulates himself on 72cver haviiig- xm- 
derntood tvhat the xvoril vocative 7neant. To learn to speak by 
grammar rules, is the same thing with learning to walk by xha 
laws of equilibrium. It is practice that teaches the grammar 
of a language, and the passions are our best instructors in the 
rhetoric of it. It is only at the age, and in places where they 
expand, that the beauties of Virgil and Horace are felt, a thing 
which our most celebrated college translators never dreamt of. 

I recollect that when I was at school, I was for a long time 
stunned, as other boys are, by a chaos of barbarous terms ; and 
that when I happened to catch a glimpse, in the Author I was 
studying, of any stroke of genius which met my reason, or any 
sentiment which made it's way to my heart, I kissed the book 
for joy. It filled me with astonishment to find that the An- 
cients had common sense. I imagined that there must be as 
great a diffcraice between their reason and mine, as there was 
in the construction of our two languages. I have known sove- 

Voi.. I. LI 


ral of my school-fellows so disgusted at Latin Authors, by those 
college explanations, that long after they had bidden farewel to 
the seminary, they could not bear to hear the names of them 
mentioned. But when they came to be formed by acquaintance 
with the world, and by the operation of the passions, they be- 
came perfectly sensible of their beauties, and resorted to them 
as the most delightful of all companions. It is thus that chil- 
dren with us become stupified ; and that an unnatural constraint 
is used to repress a period of life all fire and activity, transforming 
it into a state, sad, sedentary, and speculative, which has a dis- 
mal influence on the temperament, by ingrafting maladies with- 
out number upon it. But these after all amount only to the 
production of languor and physical evils. But they are trained 
to vice; they arc decoyed into ambition under the guise of 

Of the two passions which are the moving principles of the 
human heart, namely love and ambition, the last is by far the 
most durable, and the most dangerous. Ambition is the last 
that dies in the aged, and our mode of education puts it pre- 
maturely in motion in the young. It would be infinitely better 
to assist them in directing their early tender affections toward 
an amiable object. Most men are destined one time or other 
to feel the power of this gentle passion. Nature has besides 
made it the firmest cement of Society. If their age, or rather, 
if our financial manners forbid a commerce of early love, their 
young affections ought to be directed into the channel of friend- 
ship, and thus, as Plato proposes in his Republic, and as Pelo- 
pidas effected at Thebes, battalions of friends might be formed 
among them, at all seasons prepared to devote themselves in 
the service of their Country.* 

* Divide & impera (divide and govern) is a saying', I believe, ofJIachiav3Vt.. 
Jadge of the goodness of this maxim, from the miserable state of the coun- 
try which gave it birth, and where it has been reduced into practice. 

Children at Sparta were taught only to obey, to love virtue, to love their 
c'ountiy, and to live in the most intimate union, till they were divided in their 
schools into two classes, of Lovers and Beloved. Among the other Nations of 
Greece, education was arbitrary ; it consisted of a ^eat variety of exercises 
of eloquence, of wrestling-, of running, of pythian, of ol}Tnpic, of isthmian 
prizes, &.c. These frivolities fostered undue partialities, Laccdcmon gave 
Law to them all : and while the first, on going to engage in the battles of 
their country, needed the stimulus of pay, of harangues, of trumpets, of cla- 


But ambition never rises £xcept at the expense of another. 
Give it whatever specious name you please, it is ever the sworn 
enemy of all virtue. It is the source of vices the most dange- 
rous and detestable; of jealousy, of hatred, of intolerance, and 
cruelty ; for every one is disposed to gratify it in his own way. 
It is forbidden to all men by Nature and Religion, and to the 
greatest part of subjects, by Government. In our colleges, a 
lad is brought up to empire, who must be doomed for life to 
sell pepper. The young people, the hope of a great Nation, 
are there employed for at least seven years in learning to be the 
first in the art of declamation, of versification, of prattling. For 
one who succeeds in these trivial pursuits, how many thou- 
sands lose at once their health and their Latin ! 

It is emulation we are told which awakens talents. It would 
be an easy task to demonstrate that the most celebrated Writers, 
in every walk of literature, never were brought up at college, 
from Horner^ who was acquainted with no language but his 
own, down to John James Rousseau, who was a very indifferent 
Latin scholar. How many young men have made a brilliant 
figure in the run of the classes, who were by and by totally 
eclipsed in the vast sphere of Literature ! Italy is crouded with 
colleges and academies ; but can she boast at this day of so 
much as one man eminently distinguished? Do we not see 
there, on the contrary, talents distracted, by ill-assorted socie- 
ties, by jealousies, by cabals, by intrigues, and by all the rest- 
lessness of ambition, become enfeebled, and melt away ? 

I think I am able to perceive still another reason of this de- 
cline ; it is, that nothing is studied in those seminaries but the 
methods and forms of learning, or what in the Painter's phrase 
is called manner. This study, by fixing us in the tract of a 
master, forces us out of the path of Nature, which is the source 
of all talents. Look to France, and observe what are the arts 
brought there to the highest perfection ; and you will find that 
they are those for which there is no public school, no prize, no 
academy: such as milliners, jewellers, hair-dressers, cooks, &c. 

lions, to excite their corn-age, it was necessary, on the contrary to repress 
the ardor of the Lacedemonians. They %yent to battle, unsti.nukted by mer 
cenary considerations, or by eloquent addresses, but to the sound of the flute 
ancl sinsinp m one fe^rand concert, the hymn of the v.vo t\vin brothers, Ca.tJ- 
iinci J-'vU'.t.v. 


We have, it is true, men of high reputation in the Uberul arts, 
and in the sciences; but these men had acquired their talents 
before they were introduced into academies. Besides, will any 
one venture to affirm that they are equal to those of preceding 
ages, who appeared before academies existed ? After all, ad- 
mitting that talents are formed in colleges, they would not for 
that be less prejudicial to the Nation ; for it is of inconceivably 
more importance that a Country should possess virtue rather 
than talents, and that men should be happy rather than men re- 
novrned. A treacherous glare covers the vices of those who 
succeed in our Colleges. But in the multitude who never suc- 
ceed, secret jealousies, malicious whispers, mean flatteries, and 
all the vices of a negative ambition are already in a state of 
fermentation, and prepared to burst forth, at the command of 
their leader, upon the World. 

While depravity is thus taking possession of the hearts of 
children, some branches of education go directly to the perver- 
sion of their reason. These two abuses always walk hand in 
hand. First, they are taught to deduce false consequences. 
The Regent informs them that jfupkvr^ Mercury, and Apollo, 
are gods : the Parish-minister tells them that they are demons. 
The professor assures his pupil that Virgil, who has so nobl)' 
supported the doctrine of a Providence, is got at least to the 
Flysian fields, and that he enjoys in this world the esteem of 
all good men : The Cure informs him that this same Virgil v^as 
a pagan, and must certainly be damned. The Gospel holds a 
contradictory language in another respect ; it recommends to 
the young man to be the last ; his college urges him by all 
means to be the first : virtue commands him to descend ; edu- 
cation bids him rise. And what renders the contradiction still 
more glaring to the poor lad, it frequently proceeds, especially 
in the country, from one and the same mouth : for the same, 
good Ecclesiastic in many places teaches the classics in the 
morning, and the catechism at niglit. 

I can very easily conceive how the matter may be arranged, 
and contradictions reconciled, in the head of the Regent ; but 
they must of necessity confound and perplex all the ideas of the 
Learner, who is not paid for comprehending, us the other is for 
retailing them. 


The case is much worse when subjects of terror arc employ- 
ed, where nothing ought to be administered but consohition. 
When application is made to them, for example, at the age of 
innocence, of the woes pronounced by Jesus Christ against the 
Pharisees, the Doctors, and the other t}Tants of the Jewish na- 
tion ; or when their tender organs are shocked by certain mon- 
strous images so common in our churches, how dreadful is the 
consequence ? I knew a young man who in his infancy was 
so terrified with the dragon of St. Marguerite, with which his 
preceptor had threatened him in the village-church, that he ac- 
tually fell sick of horror, believing that he saw the monster con- 
stantly at his pillow, ready to devour him. His father, in order 
to quiet his disturbed imagination, was under the necessity of 
appearing sword in hand to attack the dragon, and of pretend- 
ing that he had killed him. Thus, as our method is, one error 
was driven out by another. When grown up, the first use which 
he made of his reason was to reflect, that the persons who were 
intrusted with the formation of that faculty had imposed upon 
him twice. 

After having elevated a poor boy above his equals, by the 
title of Emperor, and even above the whole Human Race, by 
that Son of the Church, he is cruelly brought low by rigorous 
and degrading punishments. " Among other things," says 
Mo7itagne^* " that part of the police of most of our schools has 
" always given me much offence. They ought, at all hazards, 
" certainly with much less disadvantage, to have adopted the 
" extreme of indulgence. Youth immured presents the most 
" horrid of all gaols. To punish a child before he is debauch- 
" ed, is an infallible method to debauch him. If you happen to 
^' pass when the lesson is delivering, you hear nothing but the 
" cries of poor children undergoing chastisement, and the 
" storming of masters intoxicated with rage. What a method 
•■' to inspire with the love of learning, those tender and timi4 
'' spirits, to drive them to it with surly looks, and birchen-armed 
*' hand! Unjust, pernicious proceeding! Add to this what 
*' ^lintilian has well remarked on the subject, that this impe- 
" rious authority is pregnant with tlie most dangerous conse- 
" quences, particularly from the mode of chastisement. How 

* Essays, book i, chap. 25. 


" much more decent an appearance would their classes exliibit, 
" strewed with flowers and verdant boughs, than with the frag- 
" ments of bloody rods ? I would have portrayed in them, Joy, 
" Gaiety, Flora, the Graces, as the Philosopher Speiisypfms had 
" in his school. Where should their improvement be looked 
" for, but where their pleasure is ?" * 

I have seen at college- many a pretty creature ready to fall 
into a swoon with pain, receive on their little hands up to a do- 
zen of sharp strokes. I have seen, by the infliction of this 
punishment, the skin separated from the tip of their fingers, and 
the bare flesh exposed. What shall be said of those infamous 
punishments, which produce a disgraceful effect at once on the 
morals of both scholars and regents, and of which a thousand 
examples might be adduced ? It is impossible to enter into any 
detail on this subject, without putting modesty to the blush. And 
yet they are employed by priests ! They rest on a passage from 
Solomori's writings, of this import. " He that spareth the rod 
" hateth the child." But who knows whether the Jews them- 
selves practised corporal punishment after our fashion ? The 
Turks, who have retained a great part of their usages, hold 
this in detestation. It has been diff'used over Europe only by 
the corruption of the Greeks of the Lower Empire, and it was 
introduced there by the Monks. If the Jews actually employ- 
ed it, who can tell but their ferocity might proceed from this 
part of their education ? 

Ewsides, there are in the Old Testament many advices never 
intended for our use. We find in it passages of very difficult 
explication, examples dangerous, and laws impracticable. In 
Leviticus, for example, the use of swine's flesh is prohibited. 
It is represented as a crime worthy of death to violate the Sab- 
bath-day, by working upon it ; that of killing an ox f v/ithout 

* JMichael Jilo-ntagne is likewise one of those men wlio wero r.ot educated 
at college ; tlie time of his continuance tliere at least v»?.s very sliort. He 
was instructed without tasting- corporal punishment, and without emulation, 
under the paternal roof, by the gentlest of fathers, and b}^ preceptors whose 
memory he has preciously, embaimcd in his writings. He became, by means 
of an education so diameti-ically opposite to ours, one of the best, and one of 
the most intelligent men of the Nation. 

f In what part of the INIosaic Institution could our Author possibly find 
tliis penal statute ? It is surely unnecessary to give infidelity a groundless 
tviymph. — H. II. 


'lie camp is forbidden under a like punishment, &c. St. Paul^ 
in his Epistle to the Galatians, says positively, that the Law of 
Moses is a Law of servitude ; he compares it to the slave Ha- 
gar^ whom Abraham repudiated. Whatever respect may be 
due to the writings of Solomon^ and to the Laws of Moses^ we 
are not their disciples, but the disciples of Him who said, 
*'' suffer little children to come to Me ; forbid them not ;" of 
Htm who blessed them and said, that in order to enter the king- 
dom of Heaven, we must become like them. 

Our children subverted by the vices of a faulty education, 
become false reasoners, knavish, hypocritical, envious, ugly, 
and wicked. In proportion as they increase in age, they in- 
crease also in malignity, and in the spirit of contradiction. 
There is not a single school-boy who knows any thing of the 
laws of his Countr\^, but there are some who may have heard 
talk about those of the Twelve Tables. No one of them can 
tell how our own wars are conducted ; but many are able to 
entertain you with some account of the wars of the Greeks and 
Romans. There is not one of them but knov/s that single com- 
bat is prohibited ; and many of them go to the fencing-schools, 
where the only thing taught is to fight duels. They are sent 
thither, we are told, merely to learn a graceful carriage, and 
to walk like gentlemen ; as if a gentleman must walk in the po- 
sitions of tierce and qiiarte^ and as if the gait and attitude of a 
citizen ought to be that of gladiator. 

Others, destined to functions more peaceful, are put to school 
to learn the art of disputation. Truth, we are gravely told, is 
struck out of the collision of opinions. There may be something 
like wit in the expression. But for my own part, I should find 
myself incapable of distinguishing truth, if I met with her in 
the heat of a dispute. I should suspect that I was dazzled. 
cither by my own passion, or that of another man. Out of dis- 
putations have arisen sophisms, heresies, paradoxes, errors of 
every kind. Truth never shows her face before tyrants ; and 
every man who disputes would be a tyrant if he could. The 
light of truth has no resemblance to the fatal coiTuscations of 
the thunder, produced by the clashing of the elements, but to 
the brightness of the sun, which is perfectly pure onlv when 
Heaven is without a cloud. 


I shall not follow our youth into the World, where the great- 
est merit of ancient times could be of no manner of service to 
him. What should he make of his magnanimous republican 
sentiments under a despotism ; and of those of disinterested- 
ness in a country where every thing is bought and sold ? What 
use could he make even of the impassable philosophy of a Dio- 
genes^ in cities where beggars are taken up and sent to the house 
of correction ? Youth would be sufficiently unhappy, even sup- 
posing it to have preserved only that fear of blame, and that 
desire of commendation, under which it's studies were con- 
ducted. Influenced from first to last by the opinion of another, 
and having in itself no steady principle, the silliest of women 
will rule over him with more unbounded empire than his pro- 
fessor. But, let us say what we will, the colleges will be al- 
ways full. AH I pretend to plead for is, that children should 
be delivered at least from that tedious apprenticeship to misery, 
by which they are depraved at the happiest and most amiable 
period of their existence, and which has afterward so much in- 
fluence on their characters. Man is born good. It is Society 
that renders him wicked ; and our mode of education prepares 
the way for it. 

As my testimony is not of sufficient weight to bear out an as- 
sertion of so much importance, I shall produce several which are 
not liable to suspicion, and which I shall extract at random from 
the writings of Ecclesiastics, not in conformity to their opinions, 
which are dictated by their condition, but resulting from their 
personal experience, which in this respect absolutely deranges 
their whole theory. 

Here is one from Father Claude cf Abbeville, a Capuchin 
Missionary, on the subject of the children of the inhabitants of 
the Island of Naragnan, on the coast of Brasil ; where he had laid 
the foundations of a colony, whose fate has been similar to that 
of so many others, which have been lost by our want of perse- 
verance, and by our unhappy divisions, tlie usual and natural 
consequence of injudicious education. " Farther, I know not 
" whether it be from the singular affection which fathers and 
'■'■ mothers here bear to their children, but certain it is, they ne- 
" ver say a word w^hich can possibly give them the slightest 
" uneasiness ; they are left at perfect liberty to do just wliat they 
" please, and to take their own wav in everv case, without anv 


" apprehension of reproof whatever. It is accordingly a most 
" astonishing appearance, and what has often excited admira- 
" tion in myself and many others, (and with good reason) the 
" children hardly ever do any thing that can displease their pa- 
" rents ; on the contrary^ they are at pains to do every thing 
" which they know, or imagine, will be agreeable to them*." 
He afterwards presents a very favourable portrait of their phy- 
sical and moral qualities* 

His testimony is confirmed by ^ohn de Lery., as far as it re- 
spects the Brasilians, whose manners are the same, and who are 
in the near neighbourhood of that island* I beg leave to pro- 
duce another, that of Anthony Biet^ Superior of the Missionary' 
Priests, who in the year 1652 went over to Cayenne, another 
colony lost to us from the same causes, and since indifferently 
settled. It is on the subject of the Galibis savages. f 

" The mother takes great delight in nursing her child* 
" There is no such thing known among them as giving out 
" their children to be nursed by a stranger. They are fond of 
" their children to excess. They bathe them regularly every 
" day in a fountain or riVen They do not swaddle them, but 
" put them to sleep in a little bed of cotton, made expressly for 
" the purpose. They always leave them quite naked : their pro- 
" gi-ess in growth is perfectly wonderful ; some are able to walk 
" alone at the age of eight or nine months. When grown to a 
*' certain age, if they are incapable of walking upright, they 
" march along on their hands and feet* Those people love 
" their children to distraction. They never chide nor beat 
*' them, but permit them to enjoy perfect liberty; which they 
" never abuse by doing any thing to vex their parents. They 
" express great astonishment, when they sec any of our people 
" correct their children.'* 

Here is a third extracted from the work of a Jesuit, I mean 
Father Charlevoix^ a man of various and extensive learning. It 
is a passage from his voyage to New Orleans, another colony 
which we have suffered to fall to nothing, through our divisions, 
a consequence of our moral constitution, and of our system of 
education* He is speaking in general of the Savages of North 

• History of the Mission of Capuchin leathers to the Island of Maragnarty 
chap, xlvii. 
t Voyages lo the fiqiiinoctial Countiies, book iii. pag^e 390 
Vol. L M m 


" Sometimes,* as the means of correcting their faults, 
" they employ prayers and tears, but never threatenings. — A 
" mother who sees her daughter behave improperly, falls a cry- 
" ing. The daughter naturally asks what is the matter with her, 
" and she satisfies herself with replying, Tou dishonour me. 
" This mode of reproof seldom fails to produce the effect in- 
" tended. Since, however, they have had a little more com- 
" merce with the French, some of them begin to chastise their 
" children ; but scarcely any except among those who are Chris- 
" tians, or who are fixed in the colony. The severest punish- 
" ment usually inflicted by the Savages for correcting their 
" children, is to throw a little water in their face. — Young wo- 
" men have been known to hang themselves for having received 
" from a mother some slight reprimand, or a few drops of wa- 
" ter thrown in the face ; after giving warning of what they 
" were going to do, in these >\'ords, T'ou shall no longer have a 
" daughter.'''' 

It is very amusing to observe the embarrassment of this Au- 
thor, in attempting to i-econcile his European prejudices with 
his remarks as a traveller ; which produces perpetual contradic- 
tions in the course of his work. " It would seem," says he, 
" that a childhood so badly disciplined must be succeeded by a 
" very turbulent and very corrupted youth." He admits that 
reason directs those people earlier than it does other men j but 
he ascribes their cause of it to the temperament, which is, as he 
alleges, more tranquil. He recollects not the pathetic repre- 
sentation which he himself has exhibited of the scenes that 
their passions represent, when they expand and exalt themselves 
in the bosom of peace, in their national assemblies, where their 
harangues leave all the art of our Orators far behind, as to just- 
ness and sublimity or imagery; or amidst the furj^ of war, 
where they brave in the face of fire and faggots, all the rage of 
their enemies. He does not choose to see that it is our Euro- 
pean education which destroys our temper, for he acknowledges 
in another place that these same Savages, brought up after our 
manner, become more wicked than others. These are passages 
in his Work, in which he presents the most effecting elogium of 
their morality, of their amiable qualities, and of their happy life. 
He sometimes seems to envy their condition. 

* Historic alJ-©uiu;vl of North America, Lett. Xiiii. Aug". 172^- 


rime permits me not to give at large those different passages 
that may be read in the Book from which the above extract is 
made, nor to produce a multitude of other testimonies respect- 
ing the different Nations of Asia, which demonstrate the imper- 
ceptible influence that gentleness of education has on the physi- 
cal and moral beauty of mankind, and which must be, in every 
political constitution, the most powerful bond of Union among 
the members of the State. 

I shall conclude these foreign authorities by a touch which 
good John James Rousseau could not have given with impu- 
nity, and which is extracted word for word from the work of a 
Dominican; I mean the agreeable History of the Antilles by 
Father du Terirc, a man replete with taste, with good sense and 
humanity. Hear what he says of the Caraibs, whose education 
resembles that of the Nations which I have been describing.* 

" On mentioning the word savage," says he, " most people 
" will figure to themselves a species of men, barbarous, cruel, 
" inhuman, destitute of reason, deformed, tall as giants, hairy 
" like bears ; in a word, rather monsters than rational beings ; 
"•' though in truth our Savages are such only in name, just as the 
" plants and the fruits which Nature produces without culture in 
" forests and deserts ; for these too we denominate wild or sa- 
'' vage, though they possess the real virtues and properties in 
'' their native force and vigour, which we frequently corrupt 
" by art, and cause to degenerate by transplantation into our 
'' gardens. — It is of importance," adds he afterwards, " to de- 
*■' monstrate in this treatise, that the Savages in these islands are 
" the most content, the happiest, the least vicious, the most so- 
" ciable, the least deformed, and the least tormented by disease 
" of any people in the world." 

If we trace among ourselves the history of a villain's life, we 
shall find that his infancy was always very miserable. Wherever 
I have found children unhappy, I always observed they were 
wicked and ugly ; and wherever I saw them happy, there like- 
wise they were beautiful and good. In Holland and Flanders 
where they are brought up with the greatest gentleness, their 
l)eauty is singularly remarkable. It is from them that the famous 
sculptor, Francis the Flemish, borrowed his charming models 

* Natural History of the Antilles, vol. ii. treatise vii. chap. 1. sect. 1. 


of Children; and Rubens that freshness of colouring -wJucK 
glows on those of his pictures. You never hear them, as in our 
cities, uttering loud and bitter cries; still less do you hear them 
threatened with the rod by their mothers and nurses, as with us. 
They are not gay, but they are contented. You observe on 
their countenance an air of tranquillity and satisfaction which is 
perfectlv enchanting, and infinitely more interesting than the 
boisterous mirth of our young people, when they are no longer 
under the eye of their fathers or preceptors. 

This calmness is diffused over all their actions, and is the 
source of a happy composure which characterises their whole 
future life. I never saw any country where parental tenderness 
was so strikingly expressed. The children in their turn repay 
them, in their old-age the indulgence with which they were 
treated in helpless infancy. By bonds so endearing are these 
people attached to their country, and so powerfully, that we find 
very few of them settling among strangers. With us on the 
pontrary, fathers like better to see children sprightly than good, 
because in a constitution of ambitious society, spirit raises a 
man to the head of a party, but goodness makes dupes. They 
have collections of epigrams composed by their children ; but 
wit being only the preceptionof the relations of society, children 
scarcely ever have any bnt what is borrowed. Wit itself is 
frequently, in them, the proof of a miserable existence, as may 
be remarked in the school boys of our cities, who usually are 
sprightlier than the children of the peasantry ; and in such as 
labour under some natural defect, a^ lameness, hunch-backed- 
ness and the like, who in respect of wit are still more prema- 
ture than others. But in general they are all exceedingly for- 
ward in point of feeling ; and this reflects great blame on those 
who degrade them at an age when they feel more delicately 
than men. 

Of this I shall produce some instances calculated to demon- 
strate, that notwithstanding the defects of our political constitu- 
tions, there can exist in some families good natural qualities, or 
well informed virtues, which leave to the happy affections of 
children the liberty of expanding. 

I was at Dresden in 1765, and happened to go the Court- 
Theatre: the piece performed was The Father. In came the 
^lectress with one of her daughters, who might be about five or 


six years of age. An officer of the Saxon guards who had in- 
troduced me, said in a whisper, " That child will interest you 
" much more than the play." In fact, as soon as she had taken 
her seat, she rested both hands on the front of the box, fixed her 
eyes on the stage, and remained with open mouth, immoveably 
attentive to the performers. It was a truly affecting exhibition ; 
her face, like a mirror, reflected all the different passions which 
the drama was intended to excite. You could see in succession, 
depicted upon it, anxiety, surprise, melancholy, sorrow; at last 
as the interest increased from scene to scene, the tears began 
to trickle copiously down her little cheeks ; accompanied with 
shivering, sighing, sobbing : till it became necessary at lengdi 
to carry her out of the box for fear of her being stifled. My 
companion informed me that as often as this young princess at- 
tended the representation of a pathetic piece, she was obliged 
to retire before it came to the crisis. 

I have witnessed instances of sensibility still more affecting 
in the children of the common people, because they were not 
pi-oduced by any theatrical effect. As I was taking my walk 
some years ago, through the Pre St. Gervais, about the setting- 
in of winter, I observed a poor woman lying along the ground, 
employed in weeding a bed of sorrel ; close by her was a little 
girl, of six years old at most, standing motionless and quite imr 
purpled with the cold. I addressed myself to the woman, who 
betrayed evident symptoms of indisposition, and enquired into 
the nature of her malady. " Sir," said she to me, " for three 
" months past, I have suffered very severely from the rheuma- 
'' tism ; but my disease gives me much less pain than that poor 
" child does : she will not quit me a single moment. If I say 
" to her, see, you are quite benumbed with cold, go within doors 
" and warm yourself ; she replies, alas ! mother, if I leave you, 
" your complaints will be your only companion." 

Another time, being at Marly, I went into that magnificent 
park, and amused myself in the woods with looking at the 
charming group of children who are feeding with vine boughs 
and grapes, a she-goat which seems to play with them. At no 
great distance is an enclosed pavilion, where Louis XV. in fine 
weather, sometimes went to enjoy a collation. Being caught in 
a sudden shower, I went in for a moment to shelter myself. I 
there found three children, who interested me much more than 


the children in marble without doors. They were two little 
girls uncommonly handsome, employed with singular activity, 
in picking up round the arbour the scattered sticks of dry wood, 
which they deposited in a basket that stood on the King's tabic, 
while a little boy all in tatters, and extremely lean, was devour- 
ing a morsel of bread in a comer. I asked the tallest, who 
might be about eight or nine years old, what she intended to do 
with that wood, which she was busily collecting. She replied, 
" Look, Sir, at that poor boy there ; he is very miserable ! He 
" is so unfortunate as to have a step-mother, who sends him out 
" all day long to pick up wood : if he carries none home, he is 
" beaten severely ; when he happens to have got a little and is 
" carrying it off, the Swiss at the park-gate takes it from him, 
" and applies it to his own use. He is half dead with hunger, 
" and we have given him our breakfast." Having thus spoken, 
she and her companions filled the little basket ; helped him up 
Avith it on his back, and ran away before their unhappy friend 
to the gate of the park, to see if he could pass unmolested. 

Foolish Instructors! Human nature, you tell us, is corrupted: 
yes, but you are the persons who corrupt it by contradictions, 
by unprofitable studies, by dangerous ambition, by shameful 
chastisements: and by an equitable re-action of divine Justice, 
that feeble and unfortunate generation will one day give back to 
that which oppresses it, in jealousies, in disputes, in apathies, 
and in oppositions of tastes, of m.odes, and of opinions, all the 
mischief which it first received. 

I have explained, to the best of my ability, the causes and the 
re-actions of our evils, in the view of vindicating Nature from 
the charge of having produced them. I propose, at the close of 
this Work, to exhibit the palliatives and the remedies. They 
will no doubt prove vain and inefficient speculations: but if 
some Minister shall have the courage one day to undertake to 
render the Nation internally happy, and powerful abroad, I can 
venture to predict that this v/ill be effected neither by plans of 
economy, nor by political alliances, but by reforming it's man- 
ners, and it's plan of education. He never will make good this 
revolution by means of punishments and rewards, but by imitat- 
ing the processes of Nature, who always carries her point by 
re -action. 


It is not to the apparent evil that the remedy must be applied, 
but to it's cause. The cause of the moral power of gold, is in 
the venality of public offices ; that of the excessive superabun- 
dance of indolent tradesmen in our cities, is in the imposts which 
degrade the inhabitants of the country' ; that of the beggary of 
the poor, is in the overgrown property of the rich ; that of the 
prostitution of young women, is in the celibacy of the men ; that 
of the prejudices of the Nobility, in the resentments of the vul- 
gar ; and that of all the evils of society, in the torments inflicted 
on children. 

For my own part, I have spoken out ; and if I could have spoken 
to the Nation in one vast assembly, from some point of the Ho- 
rizon where Paris is discernible, I would have pointed out to 
my Countr}', on the one part, the monuments of the rich ; the 
thousands of voluptuous palaces in the suburbs, eleven theatres, 
the steeples of a hundred and thirty-four convents, among which 
arise eleven wealthy abbeys ; those of a hundred and sixty other 
churches, twenty of which are richly endowed chapters : and, 
on the other part, I would have pointed out the monuments of 
the wretched; fifty-seven colleges, sixteen courts of justice, 
fourteen barracks, thirty guard-houses, twenty-six hospitals, 
twelve prisons or houses of correction. I would have displayed 
the magnificence of the gardens, of the courts, of the greens, of 
the inclosures, and of the dependencies, of all these vast edifices, 
accumulated on a space of ground less than a league and a half 
in diameter. I would have demanded. Whether the rest of the 
Kingdom is distributed in the same proportion as the Capital : 
Where is the property of those who supply it with food, with 
clothing, with the means of lodging, of tiiose wlio defend it ; and 
What, at last, is left for the multitude, to maintain citizens, fa- 
thers of families, and happy men ? Oh ! ye moral and political 
Powers, after having shewn you the causes and the effects of 
our evils, I would have prostrated myself at your feet, and 
would have expected, as the reward of truth, the same recom- 
pense which the peasant of the Danube expected from the insa- 
tiable powers of Rome.* 

• As a sequel to this Study, may be read that on Educrrtion. 



" WHAT avails it me,'^ some one will say, " that my tyrants 
" are punished, if I am still to be the victim of tyranny ? Is it 
" possible that such compensations should be the work of GOD ? 
" Great Philosophers, who have devoted their whole life to the 
*' study of Nature, have refused to acknowledge it's Author. 
'' Who hath seen GOD at any time ? What is it that constitutes 
" God ? But taking it for granted that an intelligent Being di- 
*' rects the affairs of this Universe, Man assuredly is abandoned 
*' to himself : no hand has traced his career : as far as he is con- 
" cerned, there are, apparently, two Deities ; the one inviting him 
" to unbounded enjoyment, and the other dooming him to end- 
" less privation ; one God of Nature, and another GOD of reli- 
" gion. Man is left totdly uncertain whether of the two he is 
" bound to please ; and whatever be the choice which he is de- 
" termined to make, how can he tell whether he is rendering 
" himself an object of love or hatred ? 

" His virtue itself fills him with doubts and scruples ; it ren- 
" ders him miserable, both inwardly and outwardly ; it reduces 
" him to a state of perpetual warfare with himself, and with the 
" world, to the interests of which he is obliged to make a sa-' 
" crifice of himself. If he is chaste, the world calls him impo- 
" tent ; if he is religious, he is accounted silly ; if he discovers 
" benignity of disposition to those around him, it is because he 
" wants courage ; if he devotes himself for the good of his 
" countr)', he is a fanatic ; if he is simple, he is duped ; if he 
" is modest, he is supplanted ; he is every where derided, be- 
" trayed, despised, now by the philosopher, and now by the 
" devotee. On what foundation can he build the hope of a re- 
" compense for so many struggles and mortifications ? On a 
" life to come ? What assurance has he of it's existence ? 
" Where is the traveller that ever returned from thence ? 


" What is the soul of man ? Where was It a hundred years 
" ago ? Where will it be a century hence ? It expands with the 
" senses, and expires when they expire. What becomes of it 
" in sleep, in a letharg)' ? It is the illusion of pride to imagine 
" that it is immortal : Nature universally points to death, in 
" his monuments, in his appetites, in his loves, in his friend- 
" ships : Man is universally reduced to the necessity of draw 
" ing a veil over this idea. In order to live less miserable, he 
" ought to divert himself, that is, as the word literally imports, 
" he ought to turn aside from that dismal perspective of woes 
*' which Nature is presenting to. him on every side. To what 
" hopeless labours has she not subjected his miserable life ? 
" The beasts of the field arc a thousand times happier ; clothed, 
" lodged, fed by the hand of nature, they give themselves up 
" without solicitude to the indulgence of their passions, and 
*' finish their career without any presentiment of death, and 
" without any fear of an hereafter. 

" If there be a GOD who presides over the destiny of all, he 
" must be inimical to the felicity of the Human Race. What 
" is it to me that the Earth is clothed with vegetables, if I have 
" not the shade of a single tree at my disposal ? Of what im- 
" portance are to me the laws of harmony and of love, which 
" govern Nature, if I behold around me only objects faithless 
" and deceiving ; or if my fortune, my condition, my religion, 
" impose celibacy upon me ? I'he general felicity diffused over 
" the Earth, serves only as a bitter aggravation of my particu- 
" lar wretchedness. What interest is it possible for me to take 
" in the wisdom of an arrangement which renovates all things, 
" if, as a consequence of that very arrangement, I feel myself 
" sinking, and ready to be lost' for ever ? One single wretch 
*' might arraign Providence, and say with Job^ the Arabian : * 
" Wherefore is light given to him that is in miserij ^ and life imto 
" the hitter in soul ? Alas ! The appearances of happiness have 
" been disclosed to the view of Man, only to overwhelm him 
" with despair of ever attaining it. If a GOD, intelligent and 
" beneficent, governs Nature, diabolical spirits direct and con- 
" found at least the affairs of the children of men/' 

* Joh. chap. iii. vcrsp 30. 
Vni. r. Nn 


I shall first reply to the principal authorities on which some 
of these objections are supported. They are extracted, in part, 
from a celebrated Poet, and a learned Philosopher, namely, 
Lucretius and Pliny. 

Lucretius has clothed the philosophy of Empedocles and Epi- 
curus in very beautiful verses. His imagery is enchanting ; 
but that Philosophy of atoms, which adhere to each other by 
chance, is so completely absurd, that wherever it appears, the 
beauty of the poetry is impaired. For the truth of this, I con- 
fidently refer to the judgment of his partisans themselves. It 
speaks neither to the heart nor to the understanding. It offends 
equally in it's principles, and in the consequences deduced from 
them. To what, we may ask him, do those primary atoms, 
out of which you construct the elements of Nature, owe their 
f^xistence ? Who communicated to them the first movement T 
How is it possible they should have given to the aggregation of 
a great number of bodies, a spirit of life, a sensibility, and a 
will, which they themselves possessed not ? 

If you believe, with Leibnitz^ that those monads., or unities, 
have, in truth, perceptions peculiar to themselves, you give up 
the laws of chance, and are reduced to the necessity of allow- 
ing to the elements of nature, the intelligence which you refuse 
to it's Author. Descartes has, in truth, subjected those im- 
palpable principles, and, if I may be allowed the expression, 
that metaphysical dust to the laws of an ingenious Geometry; 
and after him, the herd of Philosophers, seduced by the facility 
of erecting all sorts of systems with the same materials, have 
applied to them, by turns, the laws of attraction, of fermentation, 
of crystallization ; in a word, all the operations of Chemistrj^ 
all the subtilties of dialectics : but all with equal success, that is 
with none whatever. We shall demonstrate, in the article 
which follows this, when we come to speak of the weakness of 
Human Reason, that the method adopted in our Schools, of 
rising up to first causes, is the perpetual source of the errors 
of our Philosophy, in physics as well as in morals. Funda- 
mental truths resemble the stars, and our reason is like the 
graphometer. If this instrument, constructed for the purpose 
of observing the heavenly bodies, has been deranged however 
slightly J if from the point of departure, we commit a mistake 


of the minutest angle imaginable, the error, at the extremity 
of the visual rays, becomes absolutely incommensurable. 

There is something still more strange in the method which 
Lucretius has thought proper to pursue ; namely, that in a 
Work, the professed object of which is to materialize the Deity, 
he sets out with deifying matter. In this he has himself given 
way to an universal principle, which we shall endeavour to un- 
fold, when we come to adduce the proofs of the Divinity from 
feeling : it is this, that we find it impossible powerfully to in- 
terest mankind, whatever be the object, without presenting to 
the Mind some of the attributes of Deity. Before he attempts, 
therefore, to dazzle the understanding, as a Philosopher, he 
begins with setting the heart on fire, as a Poet. Here is a parr 
of his exordium. 

Hominum divumque voluptas, 

Alma Venus, cocli subter labentia signa 
Quae mare navigerum, qux terras frugiferentes 
Concelebras, per te quoniam genus omne animantum 
ConcipiLur, visitque exortum lumina solis, 
Tc dea, te fugiunt venti, te nubila cccli, 
Adventuque tuo, tibi suaves daedala tellus 
Submittit flores, tibi rident sequora ponti, 
Placatumque nitet difFuso lumine coelum. 

Qux quoniam rerum naturam sola gubernas. 
Nee, sine te, quidquam dias in luminis oras 
Exoritur, neque sit Iztum, neque amahile quidquam, 
Te soriam siiulen sr.ribendis versibus esse, 
Quos ego de rerum natura pangere conor. 

Quo magis xtcrnum, da dictis, diva, leporem. 

Effice ut in terra fcra munera militiai 
Per maria ac terras omnes sopita quiescant ; 
Nam tu sola potes tranquilla pace juvare 
Mortales, quoniam belli fera munera Mavors. 
Armipotens regit, in grcmium qui sacpe tuum se 
Rcjicit, Kterno dcvictus vulnere amoris. 

Ilunc, tu diva, tuo recubantem corpora sancto 
Circumfusa super, suaves ex ore loquelas 
Funde, petens placidam Romanis, inclyta pacem : 
Nam neque nos age re, hoc paU'iai tempore iniquo, 
Possumua rrqiw animo. 

Du Serum JVatura, lib, 1. 


I shall endeavour, as well as I can, to give a plain prose 
translation of those beautiful verses. 

" Delight of men and gods, gracious Venus I who 

" presidest over the sail-bearing Ocean, and the fertile Earth, 
" while the hosts of Heaven glide majestically silent around ; 
^' since by thy prolific virtue, the whole animal creation teems 
^' with life, and turns the opening eye-ball to the light of the 
" Sun ; at thy approach, O Goddess, the winds are hushed, the 
" vapours that obscure the face of the sky disperse, the varie- 
" gated ground spreads a carpet of enamelled flowers under- 
" neath thy feet ; the waters of the deep smile with joy, and 
" the placid sky is overspread with a milder light — See- 
" ing, then, that thou reignest sole Empress of Nature ; since 
" without thee no living creature rises into day, or possesses the 
" capacity of receiving or communicating delight, how gladly 
" would I assume thee as my associate in the arduous under- 
*•' taking on which I now enter — an enquiry into the nature of 
" things. — Give, then, O Goddess, somewhat of thy unfading 
" grace to my strains. And grant, meanwhile, that the din of 
" battle may cease over every land, over every sea : for with 
" thee it rests to reduce the troubled world to peace ; since 
" Mars^ all-powerful in arms, directs the thunder of war ; who 
" frequently retires well-pleased from the ensanguined plain, to 
" solace himself in the soft dalliance of thy uncloying love — - 
" In those fond moments, when affection can deny nothing, in- 
*' treat him to have compubslou on his own Rome and thine, 
" and bestow on it lasting tranquillity ; for how can the voice of 
" the philosophic Muse be heard amidst the confused noise of- 
" civil discord V * 

* ]Mr. Creech and Mr. Br^dtn have botli translalcd this passage of Lucre- 
tius. It would have saved me a little labour, had I dared to transcribe from 
either of their poetical versions. But, every thing- considered, I have ven- 
tured rather to hazard one of my own. If it shall be deemed deficient in 
poetical merit, two qualities, at least, it possesses ; it conveys enough of the 
sense of the Original, to answer the purpose of it's being quoted in this 
Work, and it cannot possibly give offence to any modest car. 

Venus, all hail ! of Gods and men the pride ; 
Mov'd by whose pow'r, the hcav'nly bodies glide 
In mystic round ; thine is the teeming Earth ; 
To thee the swelling Ocean owes his birth : 


Lucretius is, in truth, constrained to admit, in the sequel of 
his Poem, that this goddess, so wonderfully beneficent, is di- 
rectly chargeable with the ruin of health, of fortune, of parts, 
and, sooner or later, with the loss of reputation : that from the 
very lap of the pleasures which she bestows, there issues a 
something which embitters enjoyment, which torments a man, 
and renders him miserable. The unfortunate Bard himself 
fell a victim to this, for he died in the very prime of life, either 
from excessive indulgence, according to some, or poisoned, ac- 
cordmg to others, by an amorous potion administered by the 
hand of a woman. 

In the passage above quoted, he ascribes to Vtmus the creation 
of the world ; he addresses prayers to her ; he bestows on her 
person the epithet of sacred ; he invests her with a character of 
goodness, of justice, of intelligence, and of power, which be- 

Source of all life ! thou breatU'st the living soul, 
And kindlest joy " from Indus to the Pole." 
At thy approacli the noisy tempests cease, 
The air grows pure, and all the World is peace ; 
For Ihce the Spring her flow'ry mantle waves, 
For thee Autumnus piles his golden sheaves ; 
The placid Deep reflects a clearer ray, 
And Sol emits through Heaven a brighter daj-. 

Since Goddess, thus all own thy sov'reign pow'r ; 
Since, without thee, none sees the natal hour ; 
Without thee nought of fair, of sweet, is seen, 
Delight of Nature ! Universal queen ! 
Visit thy bard with some celestial dream 
Be thou my Muse, for Nature is my theme. 

Around my lays thy winning graces shed. 
So shall immortal honours crown my head. 

Meanwhile, command a troubled world to rest, 
Bid the fierce soldier calm his angry breast. 
Let Sea and Land thy genial influence feel ; 
Let placid Nations at thine altar kneel. 
Besmear'd with blood, and sick of war's alarms : 
Soothe back fierce Mars to thy all-conq'ring arms ; 
Tell him how Kome now bleeds at every vein ; 
Let tliy sweet voice restore the gentle reign 
Of golden Saturn. Bid the trumpet cease, 
Lot all in Rome, and rU the World be peace.— —H. H. 



longs to GOD only ; in a word, the attributes are so exactly 
the same, that, suppressing only the word Venusy in the invoca- 
tion of his Poem, you may apply it almost entirely to the Di- 
vine Wisdom. There are even points of resemblance, so 
striking, to the representation given of it in the Book of Eccle- 
siasticus, that I cannot refrain from exhibiting the counterpart, 
that the Reader may have it in his power to make the comparison. 


Vulgate Latin Version. 

3, 4, 5, Ego ex ore Altissimi pro- 
divi, primogenita ante omnem crea- 
turam ; ego feci in coclis ut oririttir 
lumen indeficiens, & sicut nebula texL 
omnem terram. Ego in altissimis ha- 
bitavi, & thronus meus in columna 

6, 7, 8, 9, G3Tuni cccli circuiTi so- 
la, & profundum abyssi penetravi ; in 
fluctibus ambulavi, et in omua terra 
steti & in omni populo ; & in omni 
populo primatum habui. Bt omnium 
excellentium & humilium corda vir- 
tute calcavi, &. in his omnibus requi- 
em puaesivi, et in haereditate domini 

chap. xxiv. 

Common English Version. 

3. I came out of the mouth of the 
Most High, and covered the Eai'th as 
a cloud. 

4. I dwelt in high places, and my 
throne is a cloudy pillar. 

5. I alone compassed the circuit of 
Heaven ; and walked in the bottom 
of the Deep. 

6. In the waves of the sea, and in 
all the earth, and in every people and 
nation, I got a possession. 

7. With all these I sought rest : 
and in whose inheritance shall I 
abide ? ' 

13. Quasi cedrus exaltata sum in 
Libano, & quasi cypressus in IMonte 

14. Quasi palma exaltata sum in 
Cades, & quasi plantatio rosae in Je- 
rico. Quasi oliva speciosa in carapis, 
et quasi platanus exaltata sum juxta 
aquam in plateis. 

13. I was exalted like a cedar in 
Libanus, and as a cypress-tree upon 
the mountains of Hermon. 

14. I was exalted like a palm-tree 
in Engaddi, and as a rose-plant in Je- 
rico, as a fair olive-tree in a pleasant 
field, and grew up as a plane-tree by 
the water. 

16. Ego quasi terebinthus extendi 
ramos meos, 8c rami mei honoris & 

17. Ego quasi vitis fructificavi sua- 
vitatem odoris, & florcs mei fructus 
honoris & honcstatis. 

18. Ego mater pulchrac dilectionis, 
ct timoris, & agnitionis, & sanctae 
spei. In me gratia omniS viae et ve- 
ritatis, in me cmnis spes vitae et vir- 

16. As the turpentine tree, \ 
stretched out my branches, and my 
branches are the branches of honour 
and grace. 

17. As the vine brought I forth 
pleasant savour, and my flowers are 
the fruit of honour and riches. 

18. I am the mother of fair 
love, and fear, and knowledge, and 
holy hope : I therefore being eternal, 
am given to all my clxildren which art 
named of him. 


19. Transite ad me, omnes qui 19. Come unto me, all ye that be 
concupiscitis me, & generationibus desirous of me, and fill yourselves 
meis iinplemini. with my fruits. 

20. Spiritus enim meus super mel 20. For my memorial is sweeter 
dulce, et hxreditas mea super mel & than honey, and mine inheritance 
favum. than the honey-comb. 

" Out of the mouth of the Almighty proceeded I. Before 
" any created being knew that it existed, I was. If there be in 
" Heaven a light never to be extinguished, I commanded it to 
" arise. If the Earth is involved in clouds, I commanded the 
" vapour to ascend. The loftj^ places of the Earth are my ha- 
" bitation ; and my throne is in the cloudy pillar. In solitude 
" I make the round of the starry Heavens ; I plunge to the bot- 
" tom of the vast abyss, and walk majestic under the waves of 
" the Sea. On every land the sole of my foot alights, and I 
" travel from shore to shore. Wherever I appear, my sove- 
" reignty is acknowledged. In the greatness of my might, I 
" have subdued the heart of the humble and of the proud. I 
" have sought for a place of habitation in the midst of them ; but 

'' I will fix mine abode only in the heritage of Jehovah I 

" have lifted up myself as a cedar upon Mount Lebanon, and 
'' as a cypress tree on the hills of Zion. My branches have 
" been exalted to the Heavens, like the palm-trees of Kadish, 
" and as the blossoms of the rose which surround Jericho. I am 
" beautiful as the olive on the brow of the hill, and majestic as 

" the plane-tree, in an open place, by the fountains of water 

•' I have extended my boughs as the terebinthus ; my branches 
'' are branches of honour and grace. I have put forth, as the 
" vine, blossoms of the sweetest perfume, and my buds have 
" produced the fruits of glory and abundance, I am the parent 
'' of holy love, of fear, of knowledge, and of sacred hope ; I 
'•*■ iilone point out the road that is safe and easy i and unfold 
"' truths that give delight; in me reposes all the expectation of 
" life and virtue. Come to me, all ye who love me j and my 
'•'■ never-ceasing productions shall fill you with rapture ; for my 
" spirit is sweeter than honey, and my distribution of it far supe- 
" rior to the cells of the honey-comb." 

This feeble translation is after the Latin prose version, itself 
a translation from the Greek, and it again from the Hebrew. It 
is not to be doubted, therefore, tliat in passing through so many 


strainers, much of the grace of the original must have evapo- 
rated. But even as it is, it possesses a decided superiority, in 
respect of pleasantness and subhmity of imagery, over the verses 
of Lucretius who appears to have borrowed his principal beau- 
ties from this passage. And here I dismiss that Poet : the ex- 
ordium of his performance is a complete refutation of it. 

Pliny takes the directly opposite course. In the very thresh- 
hold of his Natural History he affirms that there is no GOD, 
and the whole of that work is an elaborate demonstration of the 
being of GOD. His authority must necessarily be of conside- 
rable weight, as it is not that of a Poet, to whom opinions are 
a matter of indifference, provided he can produce a striking pic- 
ture ; nor that of a sectary, obstinately determined to support a 
part}', whatever violence may be done to conscience ; nor, finally, 
that of a flatterer, making his court to vicious Princes. PH7nj 
wrote under the virtuous Titusy and has dedicated his book to 
him. He carries to such a height the love of truth, and con- 
tempt of the glory of the age in which he lived, as to condemn 
the victories of Cesor^ in Rome itself, and when addressing a 
Roman Emperor. He is replete with humanity and virtue. 
He frequently exposes to censure the cruelty of masters to their 
slaves, the luxury of the great, nay, the dissolute conduct of se- 
veral Empresses. He sometimes pronounces the panegyric of 
good men ; and exalts even above the inventors of arts, persons 
who have rendered themselves illustrious by their continency, 
their modesty, and their piety. 

His Work, in other respects, is a combination of brilliancies. 
It is a real Encyclopedia, which contains, as it ought, the history 
of the knowledge, and of the errors of his time. These last are 
sometimes imputed to him veiy unjustly, for he frequently 
brings them forward merely in the view of refuting them. But 
he has been abused by the Phj'sicians, and the Apothecaries, who 
have extracted the greatest part of their prescriptions from him, 
because he finds fault with their conjectural art, and with their 
systematic spirit. He abounds, besides, in curious information, 
in profound views, and interesting traditions ; and, what ren- 
ders his perfoi-mance invaluable, he uniformly expresses him- 
self in a picturesque manner. With all this taste, judgment, 
and knowledge, Pliny is an atheist. Nature, from whose capa- 
cious stores he has derived such various intelligence, may ad* 

STUDY Vril. 289 

dress him in the words of Cesar to Brutus: IVhat, you toOy 
my son! 

Pliny I love, and I esteem:* and if I may be permitted to 
say in his justification, what I think of his immortal Work, I 
believe it to be falsified in the passage where he is made to 
reason as an atheist. All his commentators agree in thinking, 
that no one Author has suffered more from the unfaithfulness of 
transcribers than he has done ; and this to such a degree, that 
copies of his Natural History exist, in which there are -syhole 
chapters entirely different. Consult, among others, what Mathio- 
la says on the subject, in his commentaries on D'loscorides. I 
shall here take occasion to observe, that the Writings of the An- 
cients, on their way to us, have passed through more than one 
unfaithful language, and what is much worse, through more 
than one suspicious hand. They have met with the fate of their 
monuments, among which their temples have been most of all 
degraded. Their books have, in like manner, been mutilated 
chiefly in those passages which are favourable to religion, or 
the reverse. An instance of this we have in the transcription 
of Cicero* s Treatise on the Nature of the Gods, in ^\'hich the ob- 
jections against Providence are omitted. 

Montague upbraids the first Christians with having suppress- 
ed, on account of four or five articles which contradicted their 
creed, a part of the Works of Cornelius Tacitus, " though," 
says he, " the Emperor Tacitus, his relation, had by express 
" edicts furnished all the libraries in the World with them."f 

In our own days, do we not see how every party exerts itself 
to run down tlie reputation, and the opinions of the party which 
opposes it? Mankind is, in the hands of religion and philosophy, 

• I am much pleased wUh St. Pierre's eulog^ium on Pliny. I think him by 
f:ir the most valuable of all the lalin authors that have descended to us : and 
I have often expressed my Vvish to see the MUuraUs Jlistoria introduced into 
our schools, as a classical work, for the hig^Iier forms. Would it not be much 
better tlial our youn;j^ men, whether destined to the pulpet, the law, medicine, 
or even for the counting' house, or the pursuits of ag^riculture, should employ 
a few months of their time in reading' certain parts of Pliny, who would be 
continually impressing upon their minds some important practical matter, 
that in reading through the odes, and other writings of Horace, whom i^:v;, 
before the age of twenty have taste to relish ; ai;d of whom very few at the 
end of two or tliree years after they have left their schooh remember fiflv 
lines.— B. S. I>. 

t Kssays, bv>ok ii, xiy. 

Vol.' I. Oo 


like the old man in the fable, between two dames of different 
ages. They had both a mind to trim his locks, each in her own 
way. The yomiger picked carefully out all the white hairs, 
which she could not bear; the old one, for an opposite reason, 
as carefully removed the black : the consequence was, his head 
was speedily reduced to complete baldness. 

It is impossible to adduce a more satisfactory demonstration 
of this ancient infidelity of the two parties, than an interpola- 
tion to be found in the writings of Flavins jfosephusy who was 
contemporary with Pliny. He is made to say, in so many wordsy 
that the Messiah was just born; and he continues his narration,, 
without referring so much as once to this wonderful event, to 
the end of a voluminous history. How can it be believed that 
yosephvs, who frequently indulges himself in a tedious detail of 
minute circumstances, relating to events of little importance, 
should not have reverted a thousand and a thousand times, to a 
birth so deeply interesting to hia Nation, considering that it's 
very destiny was involved in that event, and that even, the de- 
struction of Jerusalem was only one of the consequences of the 
death of Jesus Christ? He, on the contrary, perverts the 
meaning of the prophecies which announce Him, applying them 
to Vespasian and to Titus; for he, as well as the other Jews, 
expected a IMessiah triumphant. Besides, had yosephiis be- 
Keved in Christ, would he not have embraced his Religion ? 

For a similar reason is it credible that Pliny should com- 
mence his Natural History with denying the existence of GOD, 
and afterwards fill every page of it, with expatiating on the 
wisdom, the goodness, the providence, the majesty af Nature; 
on the presages and pre-monitions, sent expressly from the God's: 
and even on the miracles divinely operated through the medium 
of di-eams? 

Certain savage tribes have likewise been adduced as affording 
examples of atheism, and ever}^ sequestered corner of the Globe 
has been for this purpose explored. i3ut obscure remote tribes 
were no more intended to serve as an example to tlie human 
race, than certain mean and obscure families among ourselves^ 
eould be proposed as proper models to the Nation ; especially 
when the professed object is to support, by authority, an opinion 
which is necessarily subversive of all society. Besides, such 
assertions are absolutely false. I have read the history of the 

STUDY Vin. SJ91 

voyages from which they are extracted. The travellers ac- 
knowledge that they had but a transient view of those people, 
and that they were totally unacquainted with their languages. 
They took it for granted that there could be no religion among 
them, because they saw no temples ; as if any other temple 
were necessary to a belief in God than the temple of Nature ! 
These same travellers likewise contradict themselves ; for they 
relate, that those Nations, whom they elsewhere represent as 
destitute of all religion, make obeisance to the Moon, at the 
change, and when full, by prostrating themselves to the Earth, 
or by lifting up their hands to Heaven : that tJiey pay respect to 
the memory of their fore-fathers, and place viands on their 
tombs. The immortality of the soul, admitted in whatever 
manner you will, necessarily supposes the existence of GOD. 

But if the first of all truths stood in need of testimony from 
men, we could collect that of the whole Human Race, from 
geniuses the most exalted, down to the lowest state of igno- 
rance. This unanimity of testimony is of irresistible weight ; 
for it is impossible that such a thing should exist on the Earth 
as universal error. 

Hear what the sage Socrates said to Euthydemus^ who express- 
ed a wish to have a complete assurance that the Gods existed : 

" Know, assuredly, that I told you the truth,* when I de- 
" clarcd the existence of the Gods, and asserted that Man is 
" their peculiar care: but expect not that they should assume 
" a sensible appearance, and present themselves before you ; 
" satisfy yourself with the contemplation of their works, and 
*' with paying them adoration ; remember that this is the way 
*' in which they make themselves known unto men : for of all 
" the heavenly powers whose liberality towards us is so great, 
" no one ever becomes the visible dispenser of his own bounty ; 
" and the great GOD himself, who created the Universe, and 
" who sustains that vast fabric, all the parts of which are 
••' adjusted in perfect beauty and goodness; He who constantly 
'' watches over it, and takes care that it shall not wax old, and 
'' fall into decay through length of duration, but always subsist 
'' in immortal vigour ; f He who also, with power uncontrola- 

• Xenophon^s Memorable Things of Socrates, book iv. 
t Socrates had made a particulai- study of Nature ; and although Lis judt^- 
nicnt, respecting' the duration and preservation of her works may be contrary 


" ble constrains the whole to obey his will ; and that with a promp- 
^ titude which far surpasses our imagination: He, I say, is 
" abundantly visible in all those wonders of which He is the 
" Author. But let our eyes attempt to penetrate to his throne, 
" and to contemplate all these mighty operations in their source, 
" here He must be ever invisible. 

" Observe, for a moment, that the Sun, who seems designed- 
" ly exposed to the view of the whole Creation, permits no one, 
" however, steadily to behold him ; the man who dares to 
" make the rash attempt is instantly punished with blindness. 
*' Nay, more, every instrument employed by the Gods is invi- 

to that of our philosophy, which considers the globe of the Earth, especially as 
in a progressive state of ruin, it is in perfect hannony with that of the Holy 
Scriptm-es v, Lich g-ives us positive assurance that GOD upholds it, and with 
our own experience on the subject, as I have already shewn. We have little 
reason to undervalue the physical knowledge of the Ancients, except in so 
far as it was reduced to system. We ought to recollect that they had made 
most of the discoveries which the moderns boast as all their own. The Tus- 
can Philosophers understood the art of conjuring down the thunder. Good 
King J\'uma made experiments on tliis subject. Tullus Hostilius took a fancy 
to i:nitate, but fell a viclim to his attempt, from want of understanding how 
to conduct the experiment in a proper manner. (Consult I'liitarch). Philolaus 
the Pythagorean, advanced long- before Copernicus, that the Sun was the cen- 
tre of the World ; and before Christopher Columbus, that our earth consisted 
of two Continents, that on which we are placed', and the one opposite to it. 
Several Philosophers of Antiquity maintained, that comets were stars whicli 
pursued a regular course. Pliny himself says, that they all move in a noi'therly 
direction, which is ger.erally true. It is not yet, however, two hundred jears, 
since comets were believed in Europe, to be vapours which caught fire in the 
intermediate regions of the air. The general belief, about that period, like- 
^ wise was, that the Sea furnished a supply of water to the fountains and rivers 
by a process of filtration through the pores of the Earth, though it is said in 
a hundred passages of Scripture, that by the rains their sources are kept flow- 
ing. Of tliis wc now have tlie most complete conviction, by accurate observa- 
tions on the evaporations of the Ocean. The monuments which the Ancients 
have transmitted to us in Architecture, Sculpture, Poetry, Tragedy, Ilistorv, 
u-JU ever serve as models to us. We are indebted to them besides for the' in- 
vention of almost all the other Arts ; and it is presumable that these Arts had 
the same superiority over ours, which their liberal Arts have. As to the na- 
tural Sciences they have not left us any objects of comparison ; besides the 
Priests, who were chielly employed in the cultivation of them, carefully con- 
cealedjjieir knowledge from the People. There is little room to doubt that 
they possessed, on this subject an illumination far transcending ours. Con- 
sult whr.t the j;;dicious Sir 'william Temple has said of the magic of the ancient 


*' sible. The thunder is darted from on high j it dashes in 
" pieces every thing it meets ; but no one can see it fall, can 
" see it strike, can see it return. The winds are invisible, 
" though we see well the ravages which they every day commit, 
" and feel their influence the moment that they begin to blow. 
"If there be any thing in Man that partakes of the divine Na- 
" ture, it is his soul. There can be no doubt that this is his 
" directing, governing principle, nevertheless it is impossible to 
" see it. From all this be instructed pat to despise things invi- 
" sible : be instructed to acknowledge^eir powers in their ef- 
" fects, and to honour the Deity." 

Newton, who pursued his researches into the Laws of Nature 
so profoundly, never pronounced the name of GOD without 
moving his hat, and otherwise expressing the most devout res- 
pect. He took pleasure in recalling this sublime idea, even in 
his moments of conviviality, and considered it as the natural 
bond of union among all Nations. Corneille le Bricyn, the Dutch 
"painter, relates, that happening to dine one day at his table, in 
company with several other foreigners, Newton, when the de- 
sert was served up, proposed a health to the Men of every 
Country who believed in GOD. This was drinking the health 
of the Human Race. Is it possible to conceive that so many 
Nations, of languages and manners so very different, and, in 
many cases, of an intelligence so contracted, should believe in 
GOD, if that belief were the result of some tradition, or of a 
profound metaphysical disquisition ? It arises from the spectacle 
of Nature simply. A poor Arabian of the Desert, ignorant as 
most of the Arabians are, was one day asked, How he came to 
be assured that there was a God? "In the same way," replied 
he, " that I am able to tell, by the print impressed on the sand, 
" whether it was a man or a beast which passed that way."* 

It is impossible for Man, as has been said, to imagine any 
form, or to produce a single idea of which the model is not in 
Nature. He expands his reason only on the reasons which Na- 
ture has supplied. GOD must, therefore, necessarily exist, 
were it but for this, that Man has an idea of Him. But if we 
attentively consider, that every thing necessary to Man, exists 
in a most wonderful adaptation to his necessities, for the strongest 

• Tr»yel9 through ^rabia, by Mens. d'Arvieut. 


of all reasons, GOD likewise must exist, He who is the univer- 
sal adaptation of all the societies of the Human Race. 

But I should wish to know, In what way the person who 
doubts of his existence, on a review of the Works of Nature, 
would desire to be assured of it? Do they wish that he should 
appear under a human form, and assume the figure of an old 
man, as he is painted in some of our churches ? They would say. 
This is a man. Were he to invest himself with some unknown 
and celestial form, Could we in a human body support the sight ? 
The complete and unveiled display of even a single one of his 
works on the Earth, would be sufficient to confound our feeble 
organs. For example, if the Earth wheels around it's axis, as 
is supposed, there is not a human being in existence, who, from 
a fixed point in the Heavens, could view the rapidity of it's 
motion without horror; for he would behold rivers, oceans, 
kingdoms, whirling about under his feet, with a velocity almost 
thrice as great as a cannon ball. But even the swiftness of this 
diurnal rotation is a mere nothing : for the rapidity with which 
the Globe describes it's annual circle, and whirls us round the 
Sun, is seventy-five times greater than that of a bullet shot from 
the cannon. Were it but possible for the eye to view through 
the skin, the mechanism of our own body, the sight would over- 
whelm us. Durst we make a single movement, if we saw our 
blood circulating, the nerves pulling, the lungs blowing, the hu- 
mours filtrating, and all the incomprehensible assemblage of 
fibres, tubes, pumps, currents, pivots, which sustain an existence 
at once so frail and so presumptuous ? 

Would we wish, on the contrary, that GOD should manifest 
himself in a manner more adapted to his own nature, by the 
direct and immediate communication of his intelligence, to the 
exclusion of every intervenient mean ? 

Archimedes^ who had a mind capable of such intense appli- 
cation, as not to be disturbed from his train of thought, by the 
sack of Syracuse, in which he lost his life, went almost dis- 
tracted, from the simple perception of geometrical truth, of 
which he suddenly caught a glimpse. He was pondering, 
while in the bath, the means of discovering the quantity of al- 
loy which a rascally goldsmith had mixed in Hiero's golden 
crouTi ; and having found it, from the analogy of the different 
weight of his own body, when in the water, and out of it, he 


sprung from the bath, naked as he was, and ran like a madman 
through the streets of Syracuse, calling out / have found it > I 
have found it I 

When some striking truth, or some affecting sentiment, hap- 
pens to lay hold of the audience at a theatre, you see some 
melted into tears, others almost choked with an oppressed res- 
piration, others quite in a transport, clapping their hands, and 
stamping with their feet ; the females in the boxes actually 
fainting away. Were these violent agitations of spirit to go on 
progressively but for a few minutes only, the persons subject to 
them might lose their reason, p<-rhaps their life. What would be 
the case, then, if the Source of all truth, and of all feeling, were 
to communicate himself to us in a mortal body? GOD has placed 
us at a suitable distance from his infinite Majesty ; near enough 
to have a perception of it, but not so near as to be annihilated 
by it. He veils his intelligence from us under the forms of 
matter ; and He restores our confidence respecting the move- 
ments of the material world by the sentiment of his intelli- 
gence. If at any time he is pleased to communicate himself in 
a more intimate manner, it is not through the channel of haughty 
Science, but through that of modest Virtue. He discloses 
himself to the simple, and hides his face from the proud. 

" But," it is asked, " What made GOD ? Why should 
" there be a God ?" Am I to call in question his existence, be- 
cause I am incapable of comprehending his origin ? I'his style 
of reasoning would lead us to conclude, that man does not ex- 
ist : for, Who made men ? Why should there be men ? Why 
am I in the world in the eighteenth century ? Why did I not 
arrive in some of the ages which went before ? and, Wherefore 
should I not be here in those which are to come ? The exist- 
ence of GOD is at all times necessary, and that of Men is only 
contingent. Nay, this is not all ; the existence of Man is the 
only existence apparently superfluous in the order established 
upon the Earth. Many islands have been discovered with- 
out inhabitants, which presented abodes the most enchant- 
ing, from the disposition of the valleys, of the waters, of the 
woods, of the animals. Man alone deranges the plans of Na- 
tiu-e : he diverts the cuirent from the fountain ; he digs into 
the side of the hill ; he sets the forest on fire ; he massacres 


without mercy every thing that breathes ; every where he de- 
grades the Earth, which could do very well without him. 

The harmony of this Globe would be partially destroyed, 
perhaps entirely so, were but the smallest, and seemingly most 
insignificant, genus of plants to be suppressed ; for it's annihil- 
ation would leave a certain space of ground destitute of verdure, 
and thereby rob of it's nourishment the species of insect which 
there found the support of life. The destruction of the insect, 
again, would involve that of the species of bird, which in these 
alone finds the food proper for their young ; and so on to infin- 
ity. The total ruin of the vegetable and animal kingdoms might 
take it's rise from the failure of a single moss, as we may see 
that of an edifice commence in a small crevice. But if the 
Human Race existed not, it would be impossible to suppose 
that any thing had been deranged : every brook, every plant, 
every animal would always be in it's place. Indolent and 
haughty Philosopher, who presumest to demand of Nature, 
wherefore there should be a God, why demandest thou not 
rather wherefore there should be men ? 

All his Works speak of their Author. The plain which 
gradually escapes from my eye, and the capacious vault of 
Heaven which encompasses me on every side, convey to me an 
idea of his immensity ; the fruits suspended on the bough 
within reach of my hand, announce his providential care ; the 
constant revolution of the seasons displays his wisdom ; the 
variety of provision which his bounty makes, in every climate, 
for the wants of every thing that lives, the stately port of the 
forests, the soft verdure of the meadow, the grouping of plantSj 
the perfume and enamel of flowers, an infinite multitude of 
harmonies, known and unknown, are the magnificent languages 
which speak of Him to all men, in a thousand and a thousand 
different dialects. 

Nay, the very order of Nature is superfluous : GOD is the 
only Being whom disorder invokes, and whom human weak- 
ness announces. In order to attain the knowledge of his attri- 
butes, we need only to have a. feeling of our own imperfections. 
Oh ! how sublime is that prayer,* how congenial to the heart of 

* See Flacourfs History of the Island of Madag-ascar, chap. xliv. page 182. 
You will there find this prayer, embarrassed with maiiy circumlocutions, but 
conveying- the meaning' which I have expressed. It is wonderfully .strange 


Man, and still in use among People whom we presume to call 
Savages ! " O Eternal ! Have mercy upon me, because I am 
*' passing away : O Infinite ! because I am but a speck : O 
" Most mighty ! because I am weak : Oh Source of Life ! be- 
** cause I draw nigh to the grave : O Omniscient ! because I 
*' am in darkness : O All-bounteous ! because I am poor : O 
" All-sufficient ! because I am nothing." 

Man has given nothing to himself: he has received all. 
And " He who planted the ear, shall He not hear ? He who 
" formed the eye, shall He not see ? He who teacheth Man 
*' knowledge, shall not He know ?" I should consider myself 
as ofl?ering an insult to the understanding of my Reader, and 
should derange the plan of my Work, were I to insist longer 
on the proofs of the existence of GOD. It remains that I re- 
ply to the objections raised against his goodness. 

It needs must be, we are told, that the God of Nature 
shovdd differ from the God of Religion, for their laws are con- 
tradictory. This is just the same thing with saying, that there 
is one God of metals, another God of plants, and another of 
animals, because all these beings are subjected to laws peculiar 
to themselves. Nay, in all the kingdoms of Nature, the genera 
and the species have other Laws besides, which are peculiar to 
them, and which, in many cases, are in opposition among them- 
selves ; but those different Laws constitute the happiness of 
each species in particular ; and they concur, in one grand com- 
bination, in a most admirable manner, to promote the general 

The Laws which govern Man are derived from the same 
plan of Wisdom which has constructed the Universe. Man is 
not a being of a nature perfectly simple. Virtue, which ought 
to be tlie great object of his pursuit on the Earth, is an effort 
which he makes over himself, for the good of Mankind, in the 
view of pleasing GOD only. It proposes to him, on the 
one hand, the Divine Wisdom as a model ; and presents 

thai Negroes should liave tUscovcrcd all the aUributes of Deity, in the im- 
perfections of .Man. Il is with just reason that tlie Divine Wisdom has said 
i)f itself" that it i-ested on all Nations : Et in omni terra steti, & in omni popu- 
lo ; SJ in omiii pofmlo primatiim habui. In every land, amonq- every people I 
fixed my station ; and obtained tlie chief place amidst the Nations. Eccles. 
chap. xxiv. 

Vol. I. P p 


to him, on the other, the most secure and unerring path to his 
own happiness. Study Nature, and you will perceive that no- 
thing can be more adapted to the felicity of Man, and that 
Virtue carries her i-eward in her bosom, even in this world. A 
man's continency and temperance secure his health ; contempt 
of riches and glory insures his repose : and confidence in GOD 
Supports his fortitude. What can be more adapted to the con- 
dition of a creature exposed to so much miseiy, than modesty 
and humility .^ Whatever the revolutions of life may be, that 
man has no farther fear of falling, who has taken his seat on 
the lowest step. 

Let us not complain that GOD has made an unfair distribution 
of his gifts, when we see the abundance and the state in which 
some bad men live. Whatever is on the Earth most useful, 
most beautiful, and the best, is within the reach of every man. 
Obscurity is much better than glory, and virtue than talents. 
The light of the Sun, a little field, a wife and children, are suf- 
ficient to supply a constant succession of pleasures to him. 
JVIust he have luxuries too ? A flower presents him colours 
more lovely than the pearl dragged from the abysses of the 
Ocean ; and a burning coal on his hearth has a brighter lustre, 
and beyond all dispute is infinitely more useful, than the fa- 
mous gem which glitters on the head of the Grand Mogul. 

After all, What did GOD owe to every man ? Water from 
the fountain, a little fruit, wool to clothe him, as much land as 
he is able to cultivate with his own hands. So much for the 
wants of his body. As to those of the soul, it is sufficient for 
him to possess, in infancy, the love of his parents ; in maturity, 
that of his wife ; in old age, the gratitude of his children ; at aU 
seasons, the good-will of his neighbours, the number of whom 
is restricted to four or five, according to the extent and form of 
his 'domain ; so much knowledge of the Globe as he can acquire 
by rambling about for half a day, so as to get home to his own 
bed at night, or, at most, to the extremity of his domestic hori^ 
2on ; such a sense of Providence as Nature bestows on all 
men, and which will spring up in his heart fully as well after he 
has made the circuit of his own field, as after returning from 
-ji voyage round the World. 

With corporeal enjoyments, and mental gratifications like 
these, he ought to be content; whatever he desires beyond 

STUDY Vin. 299 

ihese, is above his wants, and inconsistent with the distribu- 
tions of Nature. It is impossible for him to acquire superfluity 
but by the sacrifice of some necessary ; public consideration he 
must purchase at the price of domestic happiness j and a name 
in the world of science by renouncing his repose. Besides, 
those honours, those attendants, those riches, that submission 
which men so eagerly hunt after, are desired unjustly. A mart 
cannot obtain them but by plundering and enslaving his fellow- 
citizens. The acquisition of them exposes to incredible labour 
and anxiety, the possession is disturbed by incessant care, and 
privation tears the heart with regret. By pretended blessings 
such as these, health, reason, conscience, all is depraved and 
lost. They are as fatal to Empires as to families : it was nei- 
ther by labour, or indigence ; no, not even by wars, that the 
Roman Empire fell into ruin ; but by the accumulated plea- 
sures, knowledge, and luxury of the whole Earth. 

Virtuous persons, in truth, are sometimes destitute not only 
of the blessings of Society, but of those of Nature. To this I 
answer, that their calamities frequently are productive of un- 
speakable benefit to them. When persecuted by the World, 
they are frequently, they are usually, incited to engage in some 
illustrious career. Affliction is the path of great talents, or, at 
least, that of great virtues, which are infinitely preferable. " It 
" is not in your power," said B'larcus Aureliiis^ " to be a Natural- 
" ist, a Poet, an Orator, a Mathematician; but it is in your 
" power to be a virtuous man, which is best of all." 

I have remarked, besides, that no tyranny starts up, of what- 
ever kind, respecting either facts or opinions, but a rival tyran- 
ny instantly starts up in opposition, which counterbalances it ; 
so that virtue finds a protection from the very efforts made by 
vice to oppress and crush it. The good man frequently suf- 
fers : it is admitted ; but if Providence were to interpose for 
his relief, as soon as he needed it. Providence would be at his 
disposal : in other words, Man would have the direction of his 
Makkr. Besides, virtue, in this case, would merit no praise : 
but rarely does it happen that the virtuous man does not sooner 
or later behold the downfal of his tyrant. Or supposing, the 
worst that can happen, that he falls a victim to tyranny, the 
boundary of all his woes is death. GOD could owe Man no- 
ticing. He called him from non-existence into life ; in with- 


drawing life, He only resumes what He gave : we have nothing 
whereof to complain. 

An entire resignation to the will of GOD ought, in every 
situation, to soothe the soul to peace. But if the illusions of a 
vain world should chance to ruffle our spirit, let me suggest a 
consideration which may go far toward restoring our tranquil- 
lity. When any thing in the order of Nature bears hard upon 
us, and inspires mistrust of it's Author, let us suppose an or- 
der of things contrary to that which galls us, and we shall find 
a multitude of consequences resulting from this hypothesis, that 
Vv'ould involve much greater evils than those of which we com- 
plain. We may employ the contrary method, when some imagina- 
ry plan of human perfection would attempt to seduce us. We 
have but to suppose it's existence, in order to see innumerable 
absurd consequences springing up out of it. This twofold me- 
thod, employed frequently by Socrates^ rendered him victorious 
over all the sophists of his time, and may still be successfully 
employed to confute those of the age in which we live. It is 
at once a rampart which defends our feeble reason, and a bat- 
tery which levels with the dust all the delusion of human opi- 
nions. If you wish to justify the order of Nature, it is suffi- 
cient to deviate from it ; and, in order to refute all human sys- 
tems, nothing more is necessary than to admit them. 

For example, complaints are made of death : but if men 
were not to die, what would become of their posterity ? Long be- 
fore nov/ there would not have been room for them on the face 
of the Earth. Death, therefore, is a benefit. Men complain 
of the necessity of labouring: but unless they laboured, How 
could they pass their time ? The reputedly happy of the age, 
those who have nothing to do, are at a loss how to employ it. 
Labour, therefore, is a benefit. Men envy the beasts the in- 
stinct which guides them : but if, from their birth, they knew^ 
like them, all that they ever ;ire to know, WTiat should they 
do in the World ? They would saunter through it without in- 
terest, and without curiosity. Ignorance, therefore, is a benefit. 
The other ills of Nature arc equally necessar}\ Pain of 
body and vexation of spirit, which so frequently cross the path 
of life, are barriers erected by the hand of Nature to prevent 
our deviating from her Laws. But for pain, bodies would be 
broken to pieces on the slightest shock j but for chagrin, so fre- 


quently the companion of our enjoyments, the mind would be- 
come the victim of every sickly appetite. Diseases are the 
efforts of temperament to purge off some noxious humour. Na- 
ture employs disease not to destroy the body, but to preserve 
it. In every case, it is the consequence of some violation of her 
Laws, physical or moral. The remedy is frequently obtained by 
leaving her to act in her own way. The regimen of aliments 
restores our health of body, and that of men, tranquillity of 
mind. Whatever may be the opinions which disturb our repose 
in Society, they almost always vanish into air in Solitude. Sleep 
itself simply dispels our chagrin more gently, and more infalli- 
bly than a book of morals. If our distresses are immoveable, 
and such as break our rest, they may be mitigated by having 
recourse to GOD. Here is the central point toward which all 
the paths of human life converge. Prosperity, at all seasons, 
invites us to his presence, but adversity leaves us no choice. 
It is the means which GOD employs to force us to take refuge 
in Himself alone. But for this voice, which addresses itself to 
every one of us, we should soon forget Him, especially in the 
tumult of great cities, where so many fleeting interests clash 
with those which are eternal, and where so many second causes 
swallow up all attention to the FIRST. 

As to the evils of Society, they are no part of the plan of Na- 
ture ; but those very evils demonstrate the existence of another 
order of things : for is it natural to imagine, that the Bking 
good and just, who has disposed every thing on the Earth to 
promote the happiness of Man, will permit him to be deprived 
of it, without punishing the wretch who dared to counteract his 
gracious designs ? Will He do nothing in behalf of the virtuous, 
but unfortunate man, whose constant study was to please Him, 
when He has loaded with blessings so many miscreants who 
abuse them ? after having displayed a bounty which has met 
with no return, will He fail in executing necessary justice ? 

" But," we are told, " every thing dies with us. Here we 
" ought to believe our own experience ; we were nothing before 
" our birtli, and we shall be nothing after death." I adopt the 
analogy ; but if I take my point of comparison from the mo- 
ment I was nothing and when I came into existence. What be- 
comes of this argument ! Is not one positive proof better than 
all the negative proofs in the world ? You conclude from an, un- 


known past to an unknown future, to perpetuate the nothingness 
of Man ? and I, for my part, deduce my consequence from the 
present, which I know, to the future, which I do not know, as 
an assurance of this future existence. I proceed on the pre- 
sumption of a goodness and a justice to come, from the instan- 
ces of goodness and justice which I see actually diffused over 
the Universe. 

Besides, if we have, in our present state, the desire and the 
presentiment only of a life to come ; and if no one ever returned 
thence to give us information concerning it, the reason is, a proof 
more sensible would be inconsistent with the nature of our pre- 
sent life on the Earth. Evidence on this point must involve the 
same inconveniences with that of the existence of GOD. Were 
we assured by some sensible demonstration, that a world to 
come was prepared for us, I have the fullest conviction that all 
the pursuits of this world would from that instant be abandoned. 
This perspective of a divine felicity here below, would throw 
us into a lethargic rapture. 

I recollect that on my return to France, in a vessel which 
had been on a voyage to India, as soon as the sailors had per- 
fectly distinguished the land of their native country, they be- 
came, in a great measure, incapable of attending to the business 
of the ship. Some looked at it wistfully without the power of 
minding any other object ; others dressed themselves in their 
best clothes, as if they had been going that moment to disem- 
bark ; some talked to themselves, and others wept. As we 
approached, the disorder of their minds increased. As they had 
been absent several years, there was no end to the admiration 
of the verdure of the hills, of the foliage of the trees, and even 
of the rocks which skirted the shore, covered over with sea- 
weeds and mosses ; as if all these objects had been perfectly 
new to them. The church spires of the villages where they 
were born, which they distinguished at a distance up the coun- 
try, and which they named one after another, filled them with 
transports of delight. But when the vessel entered the port, 
and when they saw on the quays, their friends, their fathers, 
their mothers, their wives, and their children, stretching out 
their arms to them with tears of joy, and calling them by their 
names, it was no longer possible to retain a single man on board j 
they all sprung ashore, and it became necessar)^, according to 


the custom of the port, to employ another set of mariners to 
bring the vessel to her moorings. 

What then would be the case, were we indulged with a sen- 
sible discovery of that Heavenly Country, inhabited by those 
who are most dear to us, and who alone are most worthy of our 
sublime affections ? All the laborious and vain solicitudes of 
a present life would come to an end. The passage from the 
one world to the other being in every man's power, the gulf 
would be quickly shot : but Nature has involved it in obscuri- 
ty, and has planted doubt and apprehension to guard the passage. 

It would appear, we are told by some, that the idea of the 
immortality of the soul, could arise only from the speculations 
of men of genius, who, considering the combination of this 
Universe, and the connection which present scenes have with 
those which preceded them, must have, thence roncluded, that 
they had a necessary connection with futurity ; or else, that this 
idea of immortality was introduced by Legislatoi's, in a state of 
polished society, as furnishing a distant hope, tending to con- 
sole Mankind under the pressure of their political injustice. 
But if this were the case, how could it have found it's way in- 
to the deserts, and entered the head of a Negro, of a Caraib, of 
a Patagonian, of a Tartar? How could it have been diffused, 
at once, over the islands of the South-Seas, and over Lapland ; 
over the voluptuous regions of Asia, and the rude climates of 
North- America ; among the inhabitants of Paris, and those of 
tlie new Hebrides ? How is it possible that so many Nations, se- 
parated by vast Oceans, so different in manners and in language, 
should have unanimously adopted one opinion ; Nations which 
frequently affect, from national animosity, a deviation from the 
most trivial customs of their neighbours ? 

All believe in the immortality of the soul. Whence could 
they have derived a belief so flatly contradicted by their dailv 
experience ? They every day see their friends die ; but the da^ 
never comes when any cne re-appears. In vain do they carrv 
victuals to their tombs ; in vain do they suspend, with tears, on 
the boughs of the adjoining trees, the objects which in life were 
most dear to them ; neither these testimonies of an inconsolable 
friendship, nor the vows of conjugal affection challenged b} 
their drooping mates, nor the lamentations of their dear chil- 
dren, poured out over the earth which covers their remains, can 


bring them back from the land of shadows. What do they ex- 
pect for themselves from a life to come, who express all this 
unavailing regret over the ashes of their departed favourites ? 
There is no prospect so inimical to the interests of most men ; 
for some, having lived a life of fraud or of violence, have rea- 
son to apprehend a state of punishment ; others, having been 
oppressed in this world, might justly fear, tl^at the life to come 
was to be regulated conformably to the same destiny which pre- 
sided over that which they are going to leave. 

Shall we be told. It is pride which cherishes this fond opinion 
in their breasts ? What, is it pride that induces a wretched Ne- 
gro in the West- Indies to hang himself, in the hope of return- 
ing to his own countrj', where a second state of slavery awaits 
him ? Other Nations, such as the islanders of Otaheite, restrict 
the hope of this immortalit}^ to a renovation of precisely the 
same life which they are going to leave. Ah! the passions 
present to Man far different plans of felicity ; and the miseries 
of his. existence, and the illumination of his reason, would long 
ago have destroyed the life that is, had not the hope of a life to 
come been, in the human breast, the result of a supernatural 

But wherefore is man the only one of all animals subjected to 
other evils than those of Nature ? Wherefore should he have 
been abandoned to himself, disposed as he is to go astray? He 
is, therefore, the victim of some malignant Being. 

It is the province of religion to take us up where Philosophy 
leaves us. The nature of the ills which we endure unfolds their 
origin. If man renders himself unhappy, it is because he would 
himself be the arbiter of his own felicity. Man is a god in exile. 
The reign of Saturn, the Golden Age, Pandora's box, from 
which issued every evil, and at the bottom of which hope alone 
remained ; a thousand similar allegories, diffused over all Na- 
tions, attest the felicity, and the fall, of a first Man. 

But there is no need to have recouroC to foreign testimonies. 
We carr\' the most unquestionable evidence in ourselves. The 
beauties of Nature bear witness to the existence of GOD, and 
the miseries of Man confirm the truths of Religion. There 
exists not a single animal but what is lodged, clothed, fed, by 
the hand of Nature, without care and almost without labour. 
Alan alone, from his birth upward, is overwhelmed with calami- 


tj-. First, he is bom naked ; and is possessed of so little in- 
stinct, that if the mother who bare him were not to rear him for 
several years, he m ould perish of hunger, of heat, or of cold. 
He knows nothing but from the experience of his parents. They 
are under the necessity of finding him a place where to lodge, 
of weaving garments for him, of providing his food for eight or 
ten years. Whatever encomiums may have been passed on cer- 
tain countries for their fertility, and the mildness of their cli- 
mate, I know of no one in which subsistence of the simplest 
kind does not cost Man both solicitude and labour. In India, 
he must have a roof over his head to shelter him from the heat, 
from the rains, and from the insects. There too he must culti- 
vate rice, weed it, thresh it, shell it, dress it. The banana, the 
most useful of all the vegetables of those countries, stands in 
need of being watered, and of being hedged round, to secure it 
from the attacks of the wild beasts by night. Magazines must 
likewise be provided, for the preservation of provisions during 
those seasons when the Earth produces nothing. When Man 
has thus collected around him every thing necessary to a quiet 
and comfortable life, ambition, jealousy, avarice, gluttony, in- 
continency, or languor, take possession of his heart. He perishes 
almost always the victim of his own passions. Undoubtedly to 
have sunk thus below the level of the beasts, Man must have 
aspired at an equality with the Deity. 

WVetched mortals ! Seek your happiness in Virtue, and you 
will have no ground of complaint against Nature. Despise that 
useless knowledge, and those unreasonable prejudices, which 
have corrupted the Earth, and which every age subverts in it's 
turn. Love those Laws which are eternal. Your destiny is not 
abandoned to chance, nor to mischievous demons. Recal those 
times, the recollection of which is still fresh among all Nations. 
I'he brute creation every where found the means of supporting 
life ; Man alone had neither aliment, nor clothing, nor instinct. 

Divine wisdom left Man to himself, in oi-der to bring him 
back to GOD. She scattered her blessings over the whole 
Earth, that in order to gather them, he might explore every dif- 
ferent region of it ; that he might expand his reason by the in- 
spection of her works, and that he might become enamoured of 
her from a sense of her benefits. She placed bctweep herself 
and him, harmless pleasures, raptui'ous discoveries, pure dc 

Vol. I. Q q 


lights, and endless hopes, in order to lead him to herself, step 
by step, through the path of knowledge and happiness. She 
fenced his way on both sides, by fear, by languor, by remorse, 
by pain, by all the ills of life, as boundaries destined to prevent 
him from wandering and losing himself. The mother thus 
scatters fruit along the ground to induce her children to leant 
to walk ; she keeps at a little distance ; smiles to him, calls him, 
stretches out her arms towards him : but if he happens to fall, 
she flies to his assistance, she wipes away his tears, and com- 
forts him. 

Thus Providence interposes for the relief of Man, supplying 
his wants in a thousand extraordinary ways. What would have 
become of him in the earliest ages, had he been abandoned to 
his own reason, still unaided by experience ? Where found he 
com, which at this day constitutes a principal part of the food 
of so many Nations, and which the Earth, while it spontaneous- 
ly produces all sorts of plants, no where exhibits ? Who taught 
him agricvxlture, an art so simple, that the most stupid of Man- 
kind is capable of learning it, and yet so sublime, that the most 
Intelligent of animals never can pretend to practise it ? There is 
scarcely an animal but what supports it's life by vegetables, no 
one but what has daily experience of their re-production, and 
\vhich does not employ, in quest of those that suit them, many 
more combinations than would have been necessary for re-sow- 
ing them. 

But, on what did Man himself subsist, till an Isis or a 6'crr.? 
revealed to him this blessing of the skies ? Who shewed him, 
in the first ages of the World, the original fruits of the orchard, 
scattered over the forest, and the alimentary roots concealed in 
the bosom of the Earth ? Must he not, a thousand times, have 
died of hunger, before he had collected a sufficiency to support 
life, or perished by poison, before he had learned to select, or 
sunk under fatigue or restlessness, before he had formed round 
his habitation grass-plots, and arbours ? This art, the image of 
creation, was reserved for that Being alooc who bare the im- 
pression of the Divinity. 

If Providence had abandoned Man to himself, on proceeding 
from the hands of the Creator, What would have become of 
him ? Could he have said to the plains : Ye unknown forests, 
shew me the fruits which are my inheritance ? Earth, open, and 


disclose, in the roots buried under thy surface, my destined ali- 
ment ? Ye plants, on which ray life depends, manifest to me 
}our qualities, and supply the instinct which Nature has denied ? 
Could he have had recourse, in his distress, to the compassion 
of the beasts, and, ready to perish with hunger, have said to 
the cow : Take me into the number of thy children, and let me 
share, with thy offspring, the produce of one of thy superfluous 
teats ? When the breath of the North-wind made him shiver 
with cold, would the wild goat and timid sheep have run at his 
call to warm him with their fleeces ? Wandering, without a pro- 
tector, and without an asylum, when he heard by night the 
bowlings of ferocious animals demanding their prey. Could he 
have made supplication to the generous dog, and said to him : 
Be thou my defender, and I will make thee my slave ? Who 
could have subjected to his authority so many animals which 
stood in no need of him, which surpassed him in cunning, in 
speed, in strength, unless the hand which, notwithstanding his 
fall, destined him still to empire, had humbled their heads to 
the obedience of his will ? 

How was it possible for him, with a reason less infallible than 
their instinct, to raise himself up to the Heavens, to measure 
the course of the stars, to cross the Ocean, to call down the 
thunder, to imitate most of the Works and appearances of Na- 
ture ? We are struck with astonishment at these things now ; but 
I am much rather astonished, that a sense of Deity should have 
spoken to his heart, long before the comprehension of the Works 
of Nature had perfected his understanding. View him in the 
state of nature, engaged in perpetual war with the elements, with 
beasts of prey, with his fellow-creatures, with himself; frequent- 
ly reduced to situations of subjection which no other animal 
could possibly support ; and he is the only being who discovers, 
in the very depth of misery, the character of infinity, and the 
restlessness of immortality. He erects trophies ; he engraves 
the record of his achievements on the bark of trees ; he cele- 
brates his funeral obsequies, and puts reverence on the ashes 
of his forefathers, from whom he has received an inheritance 
so fatal. 

He is incessantly agitated by the rage of love or of vengeance. 
When he is not the victim of his fellow men, he is their tyrant: 
and he alone knows that Justice and Goodness govern the 


World, and that Virtue exalts Man to Heaven. He receives 
from his cradle none of the presents of Nature, no soft fleece, no 
plumage, no defensive armour, no tool, for a life so painful and 
so laborious ; and he is the only being who invites the Gods to 
his birth, to his nuptials, and to his funeral obsequies. 

However far he may have been misled by extravagant opi- 
nions, as often as he is struck by unexpected bursts of joy or of 
grief, his soul, by an involuntary movement, takes refuge in the 
bosom of Deity. He cries out: Ah, my GOD! He raises to 
Heaven suppliant hands, and eyes bathed with tears, in hope of 
there finding a Father. Ah ! the wants of Man bear witness to 
the Providence of a Supreme 'ieing. He has made man feeble 
and ignorant, only that he may stay himself in his strength, and 
illuminate himself by his light ; and so far is it from being true, 
that chance, or malignant spirits, domineer over a World, where 
every thing concurred to destroy a creature so wretched, his 
preservation, his enjoyments, and his empire, demonstrate, that 
at all times a benificent GOD has been the friend and the pro- 
tector of human life. 



I HAVE displayed from the beginning of this Work, the 
Immensity of the Study of Nature. I there proposed new plans, 
to assist us in forming an idea of the order which she has es- 
tablished in all her various kingdoms : but, checked by my o^v^^ 
Incapacity, all that I could presume to promise was, to trace a 
slight sketch of what exists in the vegetable order. However, 
before I proceed to lay down new principles on this subject, I 
thought myself called upon to refute the prejudices which the 
World, and our Sciences themselves, might have diffused over 
Nature^ in the minds of my Readers. I have accordingly ex- 
hibited a faint representation of the goodness of Providence to 
the age in which we live, and the objections which have been 
raised against it. I have replied to those objections, in the same 
order in which I have stated them, pointing out as I went along, 
the wonderful harmony which prevails in the distribution of the 
Globe, abandoned, as some would have it, to the simple Laws 
of motion and of chance. 

I have presented a new theory of the courses of the Tides, of 
the Motion of the Earth in the Ecliptic, and of the Universal 
Deluge : and I am now going to attack, in my turn, the methods 
of our Reason, and the Elements of our Sciences, before I pro- 
ceed to lay down some principles, which may indicate to us a 
certain path to the discovery of Truth. 

But let it be understood, that if, in the course of this Work, 
and particularly in this article, I have combatted our natural 
Sciences, it is only so far as system is concerned; I give them 
full credit on the side of observation. Besides, I highly respect 
the persons who devote themselves to the pursuit of Science. I 
know nothing in the world more estimable, next to the virtuous 
man, than the man of real knowledge, if however it be possible 
to separate the Sciences from Virtue. What sacrifices and pri- 
vations does not the cultivation of them demand! While the 
herd of Mankind is growing rich and renowned by agriculture. 


commerce, navigation, and the arts, it has been frequently 
seen that those who cleared the way for all the rest, lived in in- 
digence themselves, unknown to, and disregarded by, their con- 
temporaries. The man of Science, like the torch, illuminates 
all around him, and remains himself in obscurity. 

I have attacked, then, neither the Learned, whom I honour, 
nor the Sciences, which have been my consolation through life : 
but had time permitted, I would have disputed eveiy inch of 
ground with our methods and our systems. They have thrown 
us into such a variety of absurd opinions, in every branch of 
scientific research, that I do not hesitate to affirm, our libraries, 
at this day, contain more of error than of information. Nay, I 
could venture to wager, that were you to introduce a blind man'^^ 
into the King's Library, and let him take out any book at a ven- 
ture, the fii-st page of that book on which he may chance to lay 
his hand shall contain an error. How nuany probabilities should 
I have in my favour, among romance-writers, poets, mytholo- 
gists, historians, panegj'rists, moralists, naturalists of ages past, 
and metaphysicians of all ages and of all countries ? There is, 
in truth, a very simple method to check the mischief which 
their opinions might produce ; it is to arrange all the books 
Avhich contradict themselves, by the side of each other; as these 
are, in every walk of literature, almost infinite in number, the 
result of human knowledge, as far as they convey it, will be re- 
duced almost to nothing. 

By our very methods of acquiring knowledge, we arc delud- 
cd into error. First, to succeed in the search of Truth, we ought 
to be entirely exempted from the influence of passion ; and yet, 

* The word in the original is, a Quiiise-viif^-i. The Quinzc-vingt at Paris 
js a royal foundation of Saint Louis, for the relief of _;?//tfe7i score, that is, tlircc 
lumdi-ed blind persons : hence, in the Parisian plirasc, any one, in g-cnera!, 
afflicted ^^ ith the want of sijrht, is denominated a Quinze-vingt. 

The Kitig' s-Idbraini is another cstablislinient, wliich reflects the highc st 
honour on the French Government. It was founded by the famous Cardinal 
»/e Richlieu ; who, however, transferred the credit of it to tlie Prince. Tlie 
building is erected in the very centre of the Metropolis, and contains a most 
magnificent collection cf books and manuscripts, in all languages, and I'cla- 
tive to every art and science ; of drav/ings, models, mathematical instruments, 
&c. It is opened on certain days of the week, and for a considerable part of 
the day, for the inspection and use of strangers as well as natives. And even 
in Paris, I saw no petty officer, on dutv :;i the Librar\-, liold oat his hand for a 
fee.— H. H. 

STUDY IX. 311 

from our earliest Infancy, the passions are wilfully set afloat, and 
thus reason receives an improper bias from the very beginning. 
This maxim is laid down as the fundamental basis of all conduct, 
and of all opinions. Make your fortune. The effect of this is, we 
no longer prize any thing but what has some relation to this ap- 
petite. Even natural truths vanish out of sight, because we no 
longer contemplate Nature, except in machines or books. 

In oi-der to our believing in GOD, some person of conse- 
quence must assure us there is one. If Fenelon says it is so, 
we admit it, because Fenelon was preceptor to the Duke of Bur- 
gundy^ an Archbishop, a man of qualit)-, and addressed by the 
title of ]VIy Lord. We are fully convinced of the existence of 
GOD by the arguments of Fenelon^ because his credit reflects 
some upon ourseh es. I do not mean to afiirm, however, that 
his virtue contributed nothing to the force of his reasoning: but 
no farther than as it stands in connection with his reputation and 
his fortune ; for were we to meet this same virtue in a water 
porter, it's lustre would fade in our eyes. To no purpose would 
such a one furnish proofs of the existence of a GOD, more un- 
answerable than all the speculations of Philosophy, in a life la- 
bouring under contempt, hard, poor, laborious, exhibiting uni- 
form probity and fortitude, and passed in perfect resignation to 
the will of the Supreme : these testimonies so positive are of no 
consideration at all with us ; we estimate their importance from 
the celebrity which they have acquired. Let some Emperor be 
disposed to adopt the Philosophy of this obscure man, his max- 
ims will be immediately extolled in every book that is published, 
and quoted in every academical thesis ; engraved portraits of 
the Author, would decorate every pannel, and his bust in plaster 
of Paris grace every chimney ; he should be an Epktetus^ a So- 
crafes^ a yo/in James Rousseau. 

But should a period come, in which arose men of as high re- 
putation as these, in favour with powerful Princes, whose inte- 
rest it might be, that there should be no GOD, and who, in 
order to make their court to such Princes, denied his existence ; 
from the same effect of our education, which engaged us to be- 
lieve in GOD, on the faith o( Fenelon, Epictetus, Socrates and 
John James Rousseau^ we would renounce our belief, on the 
credit of the others, being men of such high consideration, ami, 
besides, so much nearer to us. It is thus our education warps us : • 


it disposes us indifferently to preach the Gospel or the Alcoran, 
according as our interest is concerned in the one or in the 

Hence arose this maxim so universal and so pernicious : pri- 
mo vivercy deinde philosophari — " to live first, and seek wisdom 
" afterward." The naan who is not ready to give his life in 
exchange for wisdom, is unworthy of knowing her. JuvenaVs 
sentiment is much more rational, and deserves rather to be a- 
dopted : 

Summum crede, nefas vitam prjeferre pudori ; 
Et propter vitam, vivendi predere causas. 

Imitated thus : 
The worst of crimes, believe it, generous 3'outl), 
Is to buy life, by selling saced truth : 
Virtue's the gem of life, the Sage's store ; 
But life is death, when honour is no more. 

" The blackest of crimes, believe it, is to prefer life to honor j 
" and for the sake of a few paltry years of mere existence, to 
" sacrifice that which alone makes life desirable." 

I say nothing of other prejudices which oppose themselves 
to the investigation of truth, such as those of ambition, which 
stimulate every one among us to distinguish himself ; and this 
can hardly be done except in two ways ; either by subverting 
maxims the most undoubted, and the most firmly established, 
in order to substitute our own in their place ; or by making an 
effort to please all parties, from uniting opinions the most con- 
tradictory ; and this, taking the two cases together, multiplies 
the ramifications of error to infinity. Truth has, farther, to en- 
counter a multitude of other obstacles on the part of powerful 
men, who can make an advantage of error. I shall confine my- 
self to those which are to be imputed to the weakness of our 
reason, and shall examine their influence on our acquirements 
in natural knowledge. 

It is easy to perceive, that most of the Laws Avhich we have 
presumed to assign to Nature, have been deduced sometimes 
from our weakness, sometimes from our pride. I shall take a 
few instances, as they happen to occur to my thoughts, and 
which are considered as most indubitably certain. For example, 
we have settled it, that the Sun must be in the centre of the 
planets, in order to regulate their motion, because we are ttn- 

STUDY IX. 315 

der the necessity of placing ourselves in the centre of our per- 
sonal concerns, for the purpose of keeping an eye over them. 
But if, in the case of the celestial spheres, the centre naturally 
belongs to the most considerable bodies how comes it about 
that Saturn and Jupiter^ which greatly exceed our Globe in 
magnitude, should be at the extremity of our vortex ? 

As the shortest road is that which fatigues us least, we have 
taken upon us to conclude, that, in like manner, this must be 
the plan of Nature. Consequently, in order to spare the Sun a 
journey of about ninety millions of leagues, which he must e- 
\'ery day perform, in giving us light, we set the Earth spinning 
round it's own axis. It may be so ; but if the Earth revolves 
round itself, there must be a great difference in the space passed 
through by two cannon balls, shot off at the same instant, the 
one toward the East, and the other toward the West ; for the 
first goes along with the motion of the Earth, and the second 
goes in the opposite direction. While both are flying in the 
air, and removing the one from the other, each proceeding at 
the rate of six thousand fathoms in a minute, the Earth, during 
that same minute, is outflying the first, and removing from the 
second, with a velocity which carries it along at the rate of six- 
teen thousand fathoms ; this ought to put the point of departure 
twenty two thousand fatliom behind the b.iU which is flying to 
the West, and ten thousand fathom before that which is flying 
to the East. 

I once proposed this difficulty to a very able Astronomer, 
who considered it as almost an insult. He replied, as the cus- 
tom of our Doctors is, that the objection had been made long 
before and refuted. At length, as I entreated him to have com- 
passion on my ignorance, and to give me the solutiori, he retail- 
ed to me the pretended experiment, of a ball dropped from the 
top of a ship's mast when under sail, and which falls on deck 
close to the mast, notwithstanding the ship's progressive motion. 
" The Earth," said he, '' carries along, in like manner, the ro- 
'' tation of the two balls, in it's own mo\ ement. Were they to 
" be shot off in a peqiendicular direction, they would fall back 
" precisely on the point from whence they were emitted." As 
axioms are not very expensive, and serve to cut short all diffi- 
culties, he subjoined this as one : " The motion of a great body 
'' absorbs that of a small." If this a^ciom be founded in truth, 



replied I, the ball dropped from the top of the mast of a ship 
under sail, ought not to fall back close to the bottom of the 
mast ; it's motion ought to be absorbed, not by that of the ves- 
sel, but by that of the Earth, which is by far the greater body. 
It ought to obey only the direction of gravity ; and for the same 
reason the Earth ought to absorb the motion of the bullet which 
is going along with it toward the East, and force it back into 
the cannon from which it issued. 

I was unwilling to push this difficulty any farther ; but I re- 
mained, as has frequently happened to me after the most lumi- 
nous solutions of our schools, still more perplexed than I was 
before. I began to call in question the truth of not only a 
system and of an experiment, but what is worse, of an axiom. 
Not that I reject our planetary system, such as it is given us ; 
but I admit it for the same reason which at first suggested it. 
It is from it's being the best adapted to the weakness of my 
body, and of my mind. I find, in fact, that the rotation of the 
Earth, every day, saves the Sun a prodigious journey : but, in 
other respects, I by no means believe that this system is that of 
Nature, and that she has disclosed the causes of motion to men 
who are incapable of accounting for the movement of their own 

I beg leave to suggest some farther probabilities in favour of 
the Sun's motion round the Earth. " The Astronomers of 
" Greenwich, having discovered that a star of Taurus has a de- 
" clination of two minutes every twenty-four hours ; that this 
" star not being dim, and having no train, cannot be considered 
" as a comet, communicated their observations to the Astrono- 
" mers of Paris, who found them accurate. M. Jllessier was 
" appointed to make a report of this to the Academy of Scien- 
*•' ces, at their next meeting."* 

If the Stars are Suns, here then is a Sun in motion, and that 
motion is a presumption, at least, that ours may move. 

The stability of the Earth may be pi-esumed, on the other 
hand, from this circumstance, that the distance of the Stars ne- 
ver changes with respect to us, which must perceptibly take 
place, if we performed every year, as is alleged, a round of 
sixty-four millions of leagues in diameter through the Heavens ; 

* Extract from the Com-ier de i'Europe, Frida}-, 4th Ma}-, 1731 

STUDY IX. 315 

for in a spaed' so vast, we must of necessity draw nigher to 
some and remove from others. 

Sixty-four millions of leagues, we are told, dwindle to a point 
in the Heavens, compared to the distance of the Stars. I am 
much in doubt as to the truth of this. The Sun, which is a 
million of times greater than the Earth, presents an apparent 
diameter of only six inches, at the distance of thirty-two mil- 
lions of leagues from us. If this distance reduces to a diameter 
so small, a body so immense, it is impossible to doubt, that 
double the distance, namely sixty-four millions of leagues, 
would diminish it still much more, and reduce it perhaps to the 
apparent magnitude of a Star ; and it is far from being impos- 
sible, that on being thus diminished, and on our still removing 
sixt}--four millions of leagues farther, he would entirely disap- 
j^ear. How comes it to pass, then, that when the Earth ap- 
proaches, or removes to this distance from the Stars in the Fir- 
mament, in performing it's annual circle, no one of those Stars 
increases or diminishes in magnitude with respect to us. 

I submit some farther observations, tending to prove that the 
Stars have, at least, motions peculiar to themselves. The an- 
cient Astronomers have observed in the neck of the Whale, a 
Star which presented much variety in it's appearances ; some- 
times it appeared for three months together, sometimes during 
a long interval ; sometimes it's apparent magnitude was greater, 
sometimes smaller. The time of it's appearance was irregular. 
The same Astronomers report, that they had observed a new 
Star in the heart of the Swan, which from time to time disap- 
peared. In the yeai- 1600 it was equal to a Star of the first mag- 
nitude ; it gradually diminished, and at length disappeared. M. 
Cassini perceived it in 1655. It increased for five years succes- 
sively ; it then began to decrease, and re-appeared no more. 
In 1760 a new Star was obser^'ed near the head of the Swan. 
Father Anselm, a Carthusian friar, and several other Astrono- 
mers, made the observation. It disappeared, and became again 
visible in 1672. From that period it was seen no more till 1709, 
and in 1713 is totally disappeared. 

These examples demonstrate that the Stars not only have mo- 
tions, but that they describe curves very different from the cir- 
cles and the ellipses which we have assigned to the heavenU' 
Nodies. I am fully persuaded, that there is amonpf these thr 


same variety of motion, as between those of many terrestrial 
bodies ; and that there are stars which describe cycloids, spi- 
rals, and many other curves of which we have not so much as 
an idea. 

I must proceed no farther on this ground, for fear of appear- 
ing better informed respecting the affairs of Heaven, than those 
which are much nearer us. All that I intended was to expose 
my doubts and my ignorance. If Stars are Suns, then there' 
must be Stars in motion j and, surely, ours may be in motion 
as well as they are.* 

It is thus that our general maxims become the sources of 
error j for we never fail to charge with disorder whatever seems 
to recede from our pretended order. That which I formerly 
quoted, namely, that Nature, in her operations, takes always the 
shortest road, has filled our Physics with false views innume- 
rable. There is nothing however more flatly contradicted by 
experience. Nature makes the waters of the rivers to meander 
through the Land, in their progress to the Sea, instead of 
transmitting them in a straight line. She causes the veins to 
perform a winding course through the human body ; nay, she 
has perforated certain bones expressly, in order to afford a pas- 
sage to some of the principal veins into the interior of the 
stronger limbs, to prevent their being exposed to injury by ex- 
ternal concussions. In. a word, she expands a mushroom in 
one night, but takes a century to bring an oak to perfection. 
Nature veiy seldom takes the nearest road, but she always takes 
that which is best adapted to her purpose. 

* I now leave the Ilcadei* to reflect on the total disappearance of those 
Stars. The Ancients had observed seven Stars In the Pleiades. Si.x only 
are now perceptible. The seventh disappeared at the siege of Troy. Ovid 
.says, it was so affected by tlie fate of that unfortunate city, as from grief to 
rover it's face with it's hand. I find in the book of Job a curious passage, 
uhich seems to presage this disappearance : it is chap, xxxviii. ver. 31. Mirn- 
quid cimjuJigiTC valebis micantes stallas pleiudes; uut gyrum arctnt-i poteris dis- 
.'■/pare ? " Will it be in thy power to unite the brilliant Stars, tlie Pleiades ; 
*' and to turn aside the Great Bear from it's course ;" This is the import of 
the translation of M. le Maitre de Sacy. However, if I might venture to give 
an opinion after that learned man, 1 would put a different sense on the con- 
clusion of the passage. Gyrum arctitri disnipare, means, in my opinion, "to 
" dissipate the attraction of the arctic pole." I here repeat what I Jiave al- 
ready observed, that the Book of Joh is replenislied wiUi most profound . 
knowledge of Nature. 

STUDY IX. 31 r 

This rage for generalizing has dictated to us, in every branch 
of Science, an infinite number of maxims, sentences, adages, 
which are incessantly contradicting themselves. It is one of 
our maxims, that a man of genius catches every thing at a 
glance, and executes all by one single Law. For my own part, 
I consider this sublime method of observing and executing, 
as one of the strongest proofs of the weakness of the human 
mind. Man never can proceed with confidence but in one 
single path. As soon as a variety present themselves, he becomes? 
perpkxed, and goes astray ; he is at a loss to ascertain which 
he ought to pursue : that he may make sure of not deviating, 
he admits onlv one to be right ; and once engaged, right or 
wrong, pride stimulates him forward. The Author of Na- 
ture, on the contrary, embracing in his infinite intelligence all 
the spheres of all beings, proceeds to their production by Laws 
as various as his own inexhaustible conceptions, in order to the 
attainment of one single end, which is their general good. 
Whatever contempt Philosophers may express for final causes, 
they are the only causes which he permits us to know. All 
the rest He is pleased to conceal from us ; and it is well wor- 
thy of being remarked, that the only end which He discloses to 
our understanding is also the same with that which he proposes 
to our virtue. 

One of our most ordinary methods, when we catch some ef- 
fect in Nature, is to dwell upon it, at first, from weakness, and 
afterwards, to deduce from it an universal principle, out of va- 
nity. If after this we can find means, and it is no difficult mat- 
ter to apply to it a geometrical theorem, a triangle, an equation, 
were it but an a-\-b^ this is sufficient to render it for ever ve- 
nerable. It was thus that, in the last age, every thing was ex- 
plained on the principles of the corpuscular philosophy, because 
it was perceived that some bodies were formed by intus-suscep- 
tion, or an aggregation of parts. A seasoning of Algebra, which 
they found means to add to it, has invested it with so much the 
more dignity, that most of the reasoners of those times under- 
stood nothing of the matter. But being indifferently endowed, 
it's reign was of short duration. At this day, we do not so 
much as mention the names of a long list of learned and illustrious 
gentlemen, whom all Europe then concurred in covering witli 


Others having found out that air pressed, set to work with 
every species of machinery to demonstrate that air possessed 
gravity. Our books referred every thing to the gravity of the 
air ; vegetation, the human temperament, digestion, the circu- 
lation of the blood, the phenomena, the ascension, of fluids. 
They found themselves somewhat embarrassed, it is true, by 
capillary tubes, in which the fluid ascends, independently of the 
action of the air. But a solution was found for this likewise ; 
and rvoe hct'ide those, in the phrase of certain Writers, who do 
not comprehend it ! Others applied themselves to the investi- 
gation of it's elasticity, and have explained equally well all the 
operations of Nature by this quality of the air. The universal 
ery was, now the veil is removed ; we have caught her in the 
fact. But did not the Savage know, when he walked against 
the wind, that air had both gravity and elasticity ? Did he not 
employ both those qualities in managing his canoe when under 
sail ? I do not object to investigation, if natural effects are ap- 
plied, after exact calculation and unequivocal experiment, to 
the necessities of human life ; but they are for the most part 
introduced for the purpose of regulating the operations of Na- 
ture, and not our own. 

Others find it still more commodious to explain the system 
of the Universe, without deducing any consequence from it. 
They ascribe to it laws which have so much accuracy and pre- 
cision, that they leave to the Divine Providence nothing more 
to do. They represent the Supreme Being as a Geometiician, 
or a Mechanist, who amuses himself with making spheres, 
merely for the pleasure of setting them a-spinning round. 
They pay no regard to harmonies and other moral causes. 
Though the exactness of their observations may do them ho- 
nour, the results are by no means satisfactory. Their manner 
of reasoning on Nature resembles that of a Savage, who on ob- 
serving in one of our cities the motion of the indexes of a pub- 
lic clock, and seeing that on their pointing in a certain direction 
upon the hour-plate, the turrets fell a shaking, crowds issued 
into the streets, and a considerable part of the inhabitants were 
put in motion, should thence conclude that a clock was the prin- 
ciple of all European occupations. This is the defect to be 
imputed to most of the Sciences, which without consulting the 
end of the operations of Nature, perplex themselves in an un- 

STUDY IX. 319 

profitable investigation of the means. The Astronomer con- 
siders only the course of the Stars, without paying the slightest 
attention to the relations which they have with the seasons. 
Chemistry, having discovered in the aggregation of bodies only 
saline particles which mutually assimilate, sees nothing but salt 
as the principle and the object. Algebra having been invented 
in order to facilitate calculation, has degenerated into a Science 
which calculates only imaginary magnitudes, and which propo- 
ses to itself theorems only, totally inapplicable to the demands 
of human life. 

From all this results an infinity of disorders, far beyond what 
J am able to express. The view of Nature, which suggests to 
Nations the most savage, not only the idea of a GOD, but that 
of an infinity of Gods, presents to the Philosophers of the dav 
only the idea of furnaces, of spheres, of stills, and of crystalli- 

The Naiads, the Sylvans, Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, impres- 
sed upon the Ancients some respect at least for the Works of 
Creation, and attached them still farther to their Country by a 
sentiment of religion. But our machinery destroys the harmo- 
nies of Nature and of Society. The first is to us nothing but 
a gloomy theatre, composed of levers, pulleys, weights, and 
springs ; and the second merely a school for disputation. Those 
systems we are told give exercise to the mental faculties. It 
may be so ; but may they not likewise mislead the understand- 
ing ? And the heart is in no less danger of being depraved. 
While the head is laying down principles, the heart is frequentlv 
deducing consequences. If every thing is the production of 
unintelligent powers, of attractions, of fermentations, the play of 
fibres, of masses, we then are subjected to their laws, as all 
other bodies are. Women and childi'en deduce these conse- 
quences. What in the mean time becomes of Virtue ? You 
must submit, say these ingenious gentlemen, to the Laws of 
Nature. So then we must obey the power of gravity ; sit do^\-n 
and walk no more. Nature speaks to us by a hundred thousand 
voices. Which of these is now sounding in our ears ? What, 
will you adopt as the rule of your life the example of fishes, of 
([uadrupeds, of plants, or even of the heavenly bodies ? 

There are Metaphysicians, on the contrary, who without pay- 
ing regard to any one Law of Physics, explain to you the whole 


system of the Universe by means of abstract ideas. But this 
is a proof that their system is not the system of Nature, name- 
ly, that with tlieir materials and their method, it would be an 
easy matter to subvert their order, and to frame another total- 
ly different from it, provided one were disposed to take the 
small trouble which it requires. Nay a reflection arises out of 
this, which levels a mortal blow at the pride of human under- 
standing ; it is this, that all these efforts of the genius of Man, 
so far from being able to construct a World, are incapable of 
so much as putting a grain of sand in motion. 

There are others who consider the state in which we live as 
a state of progressive ruin and of punishment. They proceed 
on the supposition, conformably to the authority of the Sacred 
Writings, that this Earth once existed with other harmonies. I 
readily admit what Scripture says on this subject, but I object 
to the explanations of Commentators. Such is the weaknes of 
our intellectual powers, that we are incapable of conceiving or 
imagining any thing beyond what Nature actually exhibits to 
us. They are grossly mistaken accordingly when they affirm, for 
instance, that when the Earth was in a state of perfection, the 
Sun was constantly in the Equator j that the days and nights 
were perpetually equal ; that there was an eternal Spring ; that 
the whole face of the ground was smooth and level, and so on. 

Were the Sun constantly in the Equator, I question whether 
a single spot of the Globe would be habitable. First, the Torrid 
Zone would be burnt up by his fervent heat, as has been alrea- 
dy demonstrated ; the two Icy Zones would extend much far- 
ther than they do at present ; the Temperate Zones would be 
at least as cold toward their middle as they are with us at their 
vernal Equinox ; and this temperature would prevent the great- 
est part of fruits from coming to maturity. I know not where 
ihe perpetual Spring would be ; but if it could any where exist, 
never could Autumn there exist likewise. The case would be 
still worse were there neither rocks nor mountains on the sur- 
face of the Globe, for not one river, nay not a brook of water 
would flow over the whole Earth. There would be neither shel- 
ter nor reflex to the North, to cherish the germination of plants, 
and there would be neither shade nor moisture to the South, to 
preserve them from the heat. These wonderful arrangements 
actually exist in Finland, in Sweden, at Spitzberghen, and over 

STUDY IX. {i2i 

the whole northern regions, which become loaded with rocks in 
proportion as the latitude increases : and they rise in like man- 
ner in the Antilles, in the Isle of France, and in all the other 
islands and districts comprehended between the Tropics, where 
the face of the ground is covered over with rocks, especially 
toward the Line ; in Ethiopia, the territory of Avhich Nature 
has overspread with vast and lofty rocks, almost perpendicular, 
which form all around them deep valleys, delightfully shaded 
and cool. Thus, as was before observed, in order to refute our 
pretended plans of perfection, it is sufficient to admit them. 

There is another class of Literati, on the contrary, who never 
deviate from their track, and who abstain from looking at any 
thing beyond it, however rich in facts they may be ; such are the 
botanists. They have observed the sexual parts in plants, and 
employ themselves entirely in collecting and arranging them, 
conformably to the number of those parts, without troubling 
themselves about knowing any thing farther of them. When 
they have classed them in their heads and in their herbals, into 
umbellatcd, into rose-formed, or into tubulous, with the num- 
ber of their stamina; if to this they are able to affix a parcel of 
Greek terms, they are possessed, as they imagine, of the com- 
plete system of vegetation. 

Others of them, to do them justice, go somewhat farther. 
They study the principles of plants ; and in order to attain their 
object, pound them in mortars, or dissolve them in their alem- 
bics. The process being completed, they exhibit salts, oils, 
earths ; and tell you gravely these are the principles of such and 
such a plant. For my own part, I no more believe that any one 
can shew me the principles of a plant in a phial, than he can 
display those of a wolf, or of a sheep in a kettle.* I respect 
the mysterious operations of Chemistry ; but whenever they act 
on vegetables, the process destroys them. Permit me to quote 

• There is much force and good sense in this observation. The chemical 
:uial) sis is still in an infant stale, though it must be confessed that it has 
been brought to a high degree of perfection, compared to what it was in the 
time of Chomel. What stronger proofs of the imperfections of the analysis, 
tlian that I'ontana found that the venom of the viper and the salutary gum- 
arabic afforded him on distillation the same results ? The analysis of digitalis, 
or fox-glove, does not afford any principles, or products, which are not af- 
forded by many of the simplo bitter plants, to which nothing deleterions is 
attached. B. S. H 

Vol. T. S s 


the decision which an eminent Physician has pronounced on hh 
own experiments. I mean Dr. y. B. Chomel^ in the preliminary 
discourse to his useful Abridgement of the History of Common 
Plants.* " Two thousand analysis nearly," says he, " of dif- 
" ferent plants, made by the Chemists of the Royal Academy of 
" Sciences, have afforded us no farther information than this, 
" that from all vegetables may be extracted a certain quantity 
" of an acid liquor, more or less of essential or fetid oil, of salt 
" fixed, volatile, or concrete, of insipid phlegm, and of earth; 
" and in many cases almost the same principles, and in the same 
" quantities, from plants whose virtues are extremely different. 
" This very tedious and very painful pursuit, accordingly, has 
'' turned out a merely useless attempt toward a discovery of the 
" effects of plants ; and has served only to undeceive us respect- 
*'' ingthe prejudices w^hich might have been entertained in favour 
"• of such an analysis." He adds, that the celebrated Chemist 
Homberg^ having sown the seeds of the same plants in two 
frames filled with earth, impregnated with a strong lye, the one 
of which was afterwards watered with common water, and the 
other with water in Avhich nitre had been dissolved, these plants 
re-produced very nearly the same principles. Here then is our 
systematic Science completely overturned ; for it can discover 
the essential qualities of plants, neither by their composition nor 
their decomposition. 

Many other errors have been adopted respecting the Laws of 
the expansion and the fecundation of plants. The ancients had 
distinguished in many plants males and females ; and a fecunda- 
tion, by means of emanations of the seminal powder, such as in 
the date-bearing palm-tree. We have applied this Law to the 
whole vegetable kingdom. It embraces no doubt a very exten- 
sive field ; but how many vegetables besides propagate them- 
selves by suckers, by slips, by knittings, by the extremities of 
their branches! Here are then, in the same kingdom, various 
methods of re-production. Nevertheless, when we perceive no 
longer in Nature the Law which has once been adopted in our 
books of Science, we are weak enough to imagine that she has 
g6ne astray. We have only one thread, and when it snaps we 
conclude that the system of the Universe must be on the point 


STUDY IX . 223 

of dissolution. The Supreme Intelligence disappears from be- 
fore our eyes the moment that our OAvn happens to be a little 
disturbed. I entertain no doubt however, that the Author of 
Nature has established laws for the vegetable World, now so ge- 
nerally studied, which are still to us entirely unknown. I take 
the liberty to subjoin on this subject an observation which I sub- 
mit to the experience of my Readers.* 

Having transplanted, in the month of February of the year 
1783, some simple violet plants, which had begun to push out, 
small flower buds ; this transplantation checked their expansion 
in a manner very extraordinary'. These small buds never came 
into flower, but their ovary having swelled, attained the usual 
size, and changed into a capsula filled with seeds, without dis- 
playing, outwardly or inwardly, either petal, or anthera, or stig- 
ma, or any part whatever of the flower. All these buds present- 
ed, successively the same phenomena in the months of May, of 
June, and of July, but no one of those violet plants presented the 
least semblance of a flower. I only perceived in the shooting 
buds which I opened, the parts which should have composed 
the flower withered within the calix. I sowed again their seeds 
which had not been fecundated, and hitherto they have not 
sprung up. This experiment so far is favourable to the Lin- 
n?can system ; but it is in another respect a deviation, as it de- 
monstrates the possibility of a plant's producing fruit without 
having flowered. 

It may be here proper to remark, once for all, that physical 
Laws are subordinate to the Laws of utility, that is, to give an 
instance, the Laws of vegetation are adapted to the preservation 

■ It Ls not, I think, correctly observed, that " the ancieiUs hud dlstinguish- 
" ed in many plants, males and females." They liad only, so far at least as 
wc are permitted to perceive from those writings of their philosoplicrs, that 
have reached us, imperfectly or obscurely disting-uishcd the sexes in a vent 
few plants. It was reserved for the modems to show by numerous experi- 
ments, tliat the sexual org-ans do exist in vegetables ; and to render it probable 
tiiat in the greater immber of those, fecundation is accomplished by an inter- 
course between these organs. I say the greater number, for real!)-, I do not 
think that the law is so iniivcrsalas many naturalists imagine. Plants do un- 
questionably pei-petuate themselves independently of sexual organs : and I 
am of opinion that even in regard to that numerous set of vegetables which 
arc furnishetl with flowers, the ^erm of the female blossom is sometimes not 
merely enlarged, but the groutli of fertile seed, v/hich perpetuate 
Hicir like, though it have ncfcr received the influence of any male flower 
whatever —T». .S. U 


of sensible beings, for whose use they were designed. Accor- 
dingly, though the flowering of my violet may have been inter- 
rupted, this prevented not the production of it's seeds, which 
were destined to be the subsistence of some animal, whose na- 
tural food it is. For this reason too the most useful plants, 
such as the gramineous, are those which have the greatest va- 
riety of methods to re-produce themselves. If Nature, with 
respect to them, had confined herself rigidly to the law of flori- 
fication, they could not multiply, when pastured upon by animals 
which continually browze on their summits. The same thing 
takes place with regard to such as grow along the water courses, 
as reeds and the aquatic trees ; willows, alders, osiers, mang- 
liers, when the waters swell, and bury them in sand, or totally 
subvert them, as is frequently the case. The shores would re- 
main destitute of verdure, if the vegetables which are native 
there had not the faculty of re-production by means of their 
own shoots. But the case is different with respect to the vege- 
table inhabitants of the mountains, as palm-trees, firs, cedars, 
larches, pines, which are not exposed to similar accidents, and 
which cannot be propagated by slips. Nay, if you crop off the 
summit of the palm-tree, it dies. 

We likewise find these same laAvs of adaptation and utility in 
the generation of animals, to which we ascribe uncertainty, as 
soon as we perceive variety ; or when we apprehend an approx- 
imation to the vegetable kingdom by means of imaginary rela- 
tions, suggested by the perception of effects common to both. 
Thus, for example, if some of our more delicate plant-insects 
are viviparous in Summer, it is because their young find at that 
season the temperature and the food which are adapted to them 
on coming into the world ; and if they are oviparous in Au- 
tumn, it is because the posterity of creatures so delicate could 
not have survived the Winter, without having been shut up in 
eggs. For similar reasons, if you tear oflf a claw from a live 
crab or lobster, it pushes out another, which springs out of it's 
body, as a branch out of a tree. Not that this animal's re-pro- 
duction is the effect of any mechanical analogy between the two 
kingdoms: but those animals being destined to live on the 
shores, among the rocks, where they are exposed to the agita- 
tion of the waves. Nature has bestowed on them the faculty of 
re-producing the limbs exposed to be bruised, or broken off, by 

STUDY IX. 325 

the rolling about of rocky substances, as she has given to vege- 
tables which grow by the waters the power of re-production by 
shoots, because thc}^ are exposed to the danger of being over- 
whelmed by inundations. 

Medicine has deduced a multitude of errors from those appa- 
rent analogies of the vegetable and animal kingdoms. It is 
sufficient to examine the train of her studies, to be satisfied that 
ihey are liable to strong suspicions. She pursues the operations 
of the soul through the structure of a corpse, and the functions 
of life in the lethargy of death. If she happens to perceive some 
laluable property in a vegetable, she exalts it into an universal 
remedy. Listen to her aphorisms. Plants are useful to human 
life : hence she concludes, that a vegetable diet will make a man 
live for several ages. Who is able to enumerate the books, the 
treatises, the panegyrics, which have been composed on the vir- 
tues of plants ! Multitudes of patients die, notwithstanding, 
with their stomachs full of those wonderful simples. Not that 
I undervalue their qualities when judiciously applied ; but I 
absolutely reject the reasonings which attempt to connect the 
duration of human life with the use of a vegetable regimen.* 

The life of Man is the result of all the moral adaptations, and 
depends much more on sobriety, on temperance, and the other 
virtues, than on the nature of aliments. The animals which 
live entirely on plants, do they even attain so mucli as the age 
of Man ? The deer and wild goats, which feed on the admirable 
vulnerary herbs of Switzerland ought never to die ; neverthe- 
less they are very short lived. The bees which suck the nectar 
of their flowers likewise die, and several of their species, in the 
space of one year. There is a limited term fixed for the life of 
every kind of animal, and a regimen peculiar to it ; that of Man 

* In my opinion, the analogies between animals and vegetables arc numer- 
ous, insomuch that it is difficult, if not Impossible, to say where lies the line 
of distinction between these two great empires, or assemblages of living, or- 
ganized l)odics. The study of these analogies is one of the richest and most 
beautiful subjects in the whole range of the inquiries of tlic naturalist : it is, 
indeed, a science of itself; for it involves a knowledge of all the properties, 
and functions, and habits, of animals and vegetables. I cannot perceive in 
kvliat manner, or in what instajices, " medicine has deduced a multitude of 
" errors from those (apparent) analogies." But I readily agice with Saint- 
Pierre, that there is no necessary connection between " the duration of hu- 
" man life with the use of a vegetable regimen." — B. 8. B. 


alone extends to every variety of aliment. The Tartar lives on 
raw horse-flesh, the Dutchman on fish, another nation on roots, 
another on milk diet; and in all countries you meet with old 
people. Vice alone, and mental uneasiness, shorten human life ; 
and I am persuaded, that the moral affections are of such ex- 
tensive influence, with respect to Man, that there is not one in the 
%vhole catalogue of diseases but what owes it's origin to them.* 
Hear what Socrates thought of the systematic Philosophy of 
his age ; for in all ages she has abandoned herself to the same 
extravagancies. " He did not amuse himself," says Xenophon^\ 
" with researches into the mysteries of Nature ; or with en- 
" quiring in what manner that which the Sophists call the 
*' World was created ; nor what irresistible elastic force governs 
*' all celestial things : on the contrary', he exposed the folly of 
" those who addict themselves to such contemplations, and de- 
" manded, if it was after having acquired a perfect knowledge 
'' of human things, that they undertook the investigation of 
*' those which are divine ; or whether they considered it as a 
" character of true wisdom, to neglect what was within their 
" reach, in order to grasp at objects far above them. He ex- 
*' pressed still farther astonishment, that tl^y did not discern 
" the impossibility of Man's comprehending all those wonders, 
" considering that the persons who had the reputation of being 
" most profoundly skilled in such matters, maintained opinions 

* The Cervina Senectun, tlie old age of the deer, may be a fable : but I believe 
it is a fact, that some species of deer are by no means short-lived. However, 
it is a fact, that not a few of the herbivorous animals are much longer-lived 
than man. I mention only the elephant, among the mammalia, and some spe- 
cies of parrot, among the birds. I cannot agree with our author, that it is the 
privilege of man alone to feed on a great variety of aliment. The diet of 
many other animals is not much less various than that of man. Look at the 
hog, the duck, not to mention many others. In our view of this subject, we 
should pause to recollect, that our opportunities of observing the native food 
of animals, in their wild state, are not numerous. But having myself paid 
great attention to this subject for many years, I have found that manj' of our 
carnivorous animals, as we call them, consume a portion of vegetable food : 
and, on the other Irand, that all our reputed herbivorous animals, whether 
([uadrupeds or birds, devour animal matters. Thus the white bear greedily 
devours the berries of some species of vaccinium ; and the deer, the com- 
moit black-cattle, &c., eat fisli. Even the humming bird lives, In part, upon 
insects. — B. S. B. 

f Xevopltoii's Memorable Things of Socrafet, book i 

STUDY IX. 32r 

'*' contradictory to each other, and quarrelled like madmen. For 
** as among madmen there are some undaunted at the approach 
" of the most formidable calamities, and others affrighted where 
" there is no appearance of danger ; in like manner, among those 
" Philosophers some have maintained, that there is no action 
" which may not be performed in public, nor a word which may 
" not be freely spoken in the presence of the whole World ; 
" others on the contrary have taught, that all intercourse with 
" men ought to be broken off, and perpetual solitude preferred 
" to society : some have poured contempt on temples and altars, 
" and derided the worship of the Gods ; others are such slaves 
" to superstition, as to adore wood, and stone, and irrational 
" animals. And as to the Science of natural things, some have 
" acknowledged but one single being ; others have admitted an 
" infinite number : some insist, that all things are in a state of 
" perpetual motion ; others, that there is no such thing as mo- 
'■'■ tion : some tell you that the world is filled with incessant ge- 
" nerations and dissolutions ; and others assure you that nothing 
'■ is generated or destroyed. He said farther, that he would 
" gladly be informed by those ingenious gentlemen, whether 
" they entertained the hope of some time or other reducing to 
" practice what they taught, as persons instructed in any art 
" have it in their power to exercise it at pleasure, either for 
" their own private emolument, or for the benefit of their friends ; 
" and whether they likewise imagined, after they had discover- 
" ed the causes of every thing that comes to pass, that they 
" should be able to dispense winds and rains, and dispose of 
*' times and seasons, in subserviency to their necessities ; or if 
" they satisfied themselves with the bare knowledge of those 
" things, without any expectation of advantage from them." 

Not that Socrates was unacquainted with Nature, for he had 
studied her thoroughly ; but he had relinquished the investiga- 
tion of the causes, entirely in the view of rising into admiration 
at the results. No one had ever collected more observations 
on this subject than he had done. He made frequent use of 
these in his conversations on the Divine Providence. 

Nature presents to us, on every side, nothing but hannonies 
and adaptations to our necessities ; and we will obstinately per- 
sist in vain efforts to trace her up to the causes which she em- 
ploys ; as if we meant to extort from her the secrets of her 


power. We do not so much as know the most common prin- 
ciples which she sets a working in our hands and in our feet. 
Earth, water, air, and fire, are elements, as we say. But under 
what form must Earth appear in order to be an element ? That 
stratum called hiimtts, which almost every where covers it and 
which serves as a basis to the vegetable kingdom, is a refuse of 
all sorts of substances, of marl, of sand, of clay, of vegetables. 

Is it the sand which constitutes it's elementary part ? But 
sand appears to be a secretion from the rock. Is it the rock 
then which is an element ? But it has the appearance, in it's 
turn, of being an aggregation of sand, as we see it to be in 
masses of free stone. Whether of the two, sand or rock, was 
the principle of the other ? and which took the precedency in 
the formation of the Globe ? Supposing us possessed of au- 
thentic information as to this particular, what ground have we 
gained ? There are rocks formed of aggregations of all sorts. 
Granite is composed of grains ; marbles and calcareous stones, 
of the paste of shells and madrepores. There are banks of sand, 
composed of the wrecks of all these stones : I have seen the 
sand of crystal. 

Shell-fish, which seem to give us some light respecting the 
nature of calcareous stone, by no means indicate to us the pri- 
mitive origin of that substance ; for they themselves form the 
refuse that swims in the Seas. The difficulties increase as you 
attempt to explain the formation of so many various bodies is- 
suing out of the Earth, and nourished by it. In vain you call 
to your assistance analogies, assimilations, homogeneities, and 
heterogeneities. Is it not strange that thousands of species of 
resinous, oily, elastic, soft and combustible vegetables, should 
differ so entirely from the rugged and stony soil which produ- 
ces them ? 

The Siamese Philosophers easily get rid of all embarrassment 
on the subject, for they admit in Nature a fifth element, which 
is wood. But this supplement is incapable of carrying them 
very far ; for it is still more astonishing, that animal substance 
should be formed of vegetable, than that this last should be for- 
med of fossil. Which way does it become sensible, living, and 
impassioned : They admit, I grant, the interposition of the 
Sun's action. But how is it possible that the Sun should be, in 
animals, the cause of any moral affection ; or, if vou like the 

STUDY IX. 329 

phrase better, of any passion, when we do not see it exercising 
a disposing influence even on the component parts of plants ? 
For example, it's general effect is to dry that which is humid. 
How comes it to pass then, that in a peach exposed to it's action 
the pulp externally should be meltingly plump, and the nut 
within extremely hard ; whereas the contrary takes place in the 
fruit of the cocoa tree, which is replenished with milk inward- 
ly, and clothed externally with a shell as hard as a stone ? 

Neither has the Sun more influence on the mechanical con- 
struction of animals : their interior parts, which are most con- 
stantly moistened with humours, with blood and marroAv, are 
frequently the hardest, such as the teeth and the bones ; and the 
parts most exposed to the action of his heat are often very soft, 
as hair, feathers, the flesh and the eyes. Once more, how comes 
it to pass, that there is so little analogy between plants tender, 
ligneous, liable to putrefaction, and the Earth which produces 
them ; and between the corals and the madrepores of stone, 
which form banks so extensive between the Tropics, and the 
sea water in which they are formed ? To all appearance, the 
contrary ought to happen : the water ought to have produced 
soft plants, and the Earth solid plants. If things exist thus, 
there must undoubtedly be more than one good reason for it ; 
I think I have a glimpse of a very tolerable one : it is this, that 
if these analogies actually took place, the two elements would 
in a short time become uninhabitable ; they would soon be over- 
whelmed by their own vegetation. The sea would be incapable 
of breaking madrepores of wood, and the air of dissolving fo- 
rests of stone. 

The same doubts might be started respecting the nature of 
Water. This element, we allege, is formed of small globules, 
which roll over one another ; that it is to the spherical form of 
it's elementary particles we ought to ascribe it's fluidity. But 
if these are globules, there must be between them intervals and 
and vacuities, without which they could not be susceptible of 
motion. How comes it to pass then that water is incompressible ? 
If )-oii apply to it a strong compressing power in a tube, it will 
force it's way through the pores of that tube, though it be of 
gold ; and will burst it, if of iron. Employ what efforts vou please, 
you will find it impossible to reduce it to a smaller size. But 
so far from knowing the form of it's component parts, we can- 



not so much as determine that of the combined whole. Docs ij, 
consist in being expanded into invisible vapours in the air, as the 
dew, or collected into mists in the clouds, or consolidated into 
masses in the ice, or finally in a fluid state, as in the rivers. 
Fluidity, it is said, forms one of it's principal characters. Yes, 
because we drink it in that state, and because under this relation 
it interests us the most. We determine it's principal character, 
as we do that of all the objects of Nature, for the reason which 

1 have already suggested, from our own most craving necessity ; 
but this very character appears foreign to it : for it owes it's 
fluidity only to the action of the heat ; if you deprive it of this 
it changes into ice. It would be very singular should it be 
made to appear, after all our fundamental definitions, that the 
natural state of water was to be solid, and that the natural state 
of earth was to be fluid : now this must actually be the case, if 
water owes it's fluidity only to heat, and if earth is nothing 
but an aggregation of sands united by different glues, and at- 
tracted to a common centre by the general action of gravity. 

The elementary qualities of air are not of more easy deter- 
mination. Air, we say, is an elastic body : when it is shut up 
in the grains of gun-powder, the action of fire dilates it to such 
a degree, as to communicate to it the power of hurling a globe 
of iron to a prodigious distance. But how could it have been, 
with all this elasticity, compressed into the grains of a crumb- 
ling powder ? If you put even any liquid substance into a state 
of fermentation to a flask, a thousand times more air will be 
separated from it, than you could force into the vessel without 
breaking it. How could this air be confined in a substance soft 
and fluid, without disengaging itself by its own action ? 

The air when loaded with vapours, we farther say, is refran- 
gible. The farther we advance to the North, the more eleva- 
ted does the Sun appear over the Horizon, above the place which 
he actually occupies in the Heavens. The Dutch mariners, who 
passed the Winter of 1597, in Nova-Zembla, after a night of 
several months, saw the Sun re-appear fifteen days sooner than 
they expected his return. All this is very well. But if vapours 
render the air refrangible, why is there no Aurora nor twilight, 
nor any durable refraction of light whatever between the Tro- 
pics, not even on the Sea, where so many vapours are exhaled 

STUDY IX. aai 

by the constant action of the Sun, that the Horizon is sometimes 
quite involved in mist by them ? 

The light is not refracted, says another Philosopher, by the 
vapours, but by the cold ; for the refraction of the Atmosphere 
is not so great at the end of Summer, as at the end of Winter, 
at the autumnal Equinox, as at the vernal. 

I admit the truth of this observation ; however, after very hot 
days in Summer there is refraction to the North, as well as in 
our temperate climates, and there is none between the Tropics : 
the cold therefore does not appear to me to be the mechanical 
cause of refraction, but it is the final cause of it. This wonder- 
ful multiplication of light, which increases in the Atmosphere, 
in proportion to the intenseness of the cold, is in my apprehen- 
sion a consequence of the same Law which transmits the Moon 
into the northern signs, in proportion as the Sun forsakes them, 
and which causes her to illuminate the long nigJ^s of our Pole, 
while the Sun is under the Horizon ; for light,%e of what sort 
it may, is warm. These wonderful harmonies are not in the 
nature of the Elements, but in the will of Him who has estab- 
lished them in subordination to the necessities of a being en- 
dowed with sensibility. 

Fire presents to us phenomena still more incomprehensible. 
First of all. Is fire matter ? Matter, according to the definitions 
of Philosophy, is that which is divisible in length, breadth, and 
depth. Fire is divisible only in perpendicular length. Never 
will you divide a flame, or a ray of the Sun, in it's horizontal 
breadth. Here then is matter divisible only into two dimen- 
sions. Besides, it has no gravity, for it continually ascends ; 
nor levity, for it descends, and penetrates bodies ever so much 
below it. Fire, we are told, is contained in all bodies. But, 
being of a consuming nature^ How does it not devour them ? 
How can it remain in water without being extinguished ? 

These difficulties, and several others, induced Newton to be- 
lieve that fire was not an element, but certain subtile matter put 
in motion. Friction it is true, and collision, elicit fire from- se- 
veral bodies. But how comes it that air and water, though 
agitated ever so much, ne\'er catch fire ? Nay, How comes it 
that water eveii gets cold by motion, though it's fluidity is en- 
tirely owing to it's being impregnated by fire ? Contrary to the 
nature of all other motions. Wherefore does that of fire go in a 


constant state of propagation, instead of meeting a check ? AH 
bodies lose their motion by communicating it. If you strike 
several billiard balls with one, the motion is communicated 
among them, it is divided and lost. But a single spark of fire 
disengages from a piece of wood the ig-neous particles, or the 
subtle matter if you will, which are contained in it, and the 
whole together increase their rapidity to such a degree, as to 
make one vast conflagration of a whole forest. 

We are not better acquainted with the negative qualities. 
Cold they tell us is produced by the absence of heat : but if 
cold is merely a negative quality, How is it capable of producing 
positive effects ? If you put into water a bottle of iced wine, as 
I have seen done in Russia oftener than once, you perceive in 
a short time ice of an inch in thickness cover the outside of the 
bottle. A block of ice diffuses cold all over the surrounding 
atmosphere, jj^rkness nevertheless, which is a privation of 
light, diffuses no obscurity over surrounding light. If you open 
in a day of Summer a grotto at once dark and cool, the sur- 
rounding light will not be in the least impaired by the darkness 
which it contained ; but the heat of the adjacent air will be per- 
ceptibly diminished by the cold air which issues from it. I am 
aware of the reply ; it will be said, if there is no perceptible 
obscuration in the first case, it is owing to the extreme rapidity 
of light which replaces the darkness ; but this would be increas- 
ing the difficulty instead of removing it, by supposing that dark- 
p.css too has positive effects, which we have not time now U' 
animadvert upon. 

It is however on such pretended fundamental principles that 
most of our systems of Physics are reared. If we are in an 
error, or in a state of ignorance at the point of departure, it can- 
not be long before we go astray on the road ; and it is really in- 
credible with v/hat facility, after having laid down our principles 
so slightly, we repay ourselves ir. consequences, in vague terms, 
and in contradictory ideas. 

I have seen, for example, the formation of thunder explained 
in highly celebrated physical tracts. Some demonstrate to you 
that it is produced by the collision of two clouds, as if clouds 
or foggy vapours ever could produce a collision ! Others gravel)- 
tell you, that it is the effect of the air dilated by the sudden in- 
flammation of the sulphur and of the nitre ^\•hich float in it. 

STUDY IX. ^^ii 

But, in order to it's being capable of producing those tremen- 
dous explosions, we are under the necessity of supposing that 
the air was confined in a body which made some resistance. If 
you set fire to a great mass of gun-powder in an uncon fined 
situation, no explosion follows. I know verj' well that the de- 
tonation of thunder has been imitated in the experiment of ful- 
minating powder ; but the materials employed in the composi- 
tion of it have a sort of tenacity. They undergo, on the part of 
the iron ladle which contains them, a resistance against which 
they sometimes act with so much violence as to perforate it. 
After all, to imitate a phenomenon is not to explain it. The 
other effects of thunder are explained with similar levity. As 
tht air is found to be cooler after a thunder-storm, the nitre we 
are told which is diffused through the Atmosphere, is the cause 
of it ; but was not that nitre there before the explosion, when 
we were almost suffocated with heat? Does nitre cool onlv 
when it is set on fire ? According to this mode of reckoning, 
our batteries of cannon ought to become glaciers in the midst of 
a battle, for a world of nitre is kindled into flame on such occa- 
sions ; they are under the necessity however of cooling the 
cannon with vinegar; for, after having been fired ofi" twenty 
times in quick succession, it is impossible to apply your hand to 
the piece. The flame of the nitre, though instantaneous, pow- 
erfully penetrates the metal, notwithstanding it's thickness and 

The heat it is true may likewise be occasioned by t!ic interior 
\ibration of the parts. Whatever may be in this, the cooling 
of tlie air after a thunder-storm proceeds, in my opinion, from 
that stratum of frozen air which surrounds us, to the height of 
from twelve to fifteen hundred faUioms : and which being di- 
vided and dilated at it's base by the fire of the stormy clouds, 
flows hastily into our Atmosphere. It's motion determines the 
fire of the thunder to direct itself, contrary to it's nature, toward 
the Earth. It produces still farther effects, which neither time 
nor place permit me at present to unfold. 

It was allirmed in the last age tluu the Earth was drawn out 
at the Poles ; and we are now positively told that it is flattened 
Uiere. I sIkUI not at present enter into an examination of the 
principles from which this last conclusion has been deduced, and 
the observations on which it has been supported. The flatten- 


ing of the Earth at the Poles has been accounted for froih a 
centrifugal force, to which likewise it's motion through the 
Heavens has been ascribed ; though this pretended force, which 
has increased the diameter of the Earth at the Equator, has not 
the power of raising so much as a straw into the air. 

The flattening of the Poles they tell us has been ascertained 
by the measurement of two terrestrial degrees, made at a vast 
expense, the one in Peru, near the Equator, and the other in 
Lapland, bordering upon the Polar Circle.* Those experiments 
were made undoubtedly by men of ver^' great capacity and re- 
putation. But persons of at least equal capacity, and of a name 
equally as high in the republic of Science, had demonstrated up- 
on other principles, and by other experiments, that the Earth 
was lengthened at the Poles. Cassini estimates at fifty leagues 
the length by Avhich the axis of the Earth exceeds it's diame- 
ters, which gives to each of the Poles twenty-five leagues of 
elevation over the circumference of the Globe. We shall cer- 
tainly enlist under the banner of this illustrious Astronomer, if 
we consider- the testimony of the eye as of any weight ; for the 
shade of the Earth appears oval over it's Poles, in central eclip- 
ses of the Moon, as was observed by Tycho Brhae and Kepler. 
These names are a host in themselves. 

But without considering any name as an authority, where 
natural truths are concerned, we may conclude, from simple 
analogies, the elongation of the axis of the Earth. If we con- 
sider, as has been already said, the two Hemispheres as two 
mountains, whose bases are at the Equator, the summits at the 
Poles, and the Ocean, which alternately flows from one of these 
summits as a great river descending from a mountain, we shall 
have under this point of view, objects of comparison which may 
assist us in determining the point of elevation from which the 
Ocean takes it's rise, by the distance of the place where it's 
course terminates. Thus the summit of Chimboraco, the most 
elevated of the Andes of Peru, out of which the river of the 
Amazons issues, having a league and one-third nearly of eleva- 
tion above the mouth of that river, which is distant from it in a 
straight line, about twenty-six degrees, or six hundred and fifty 

* It is evident that tlie conclusion from those very measurements oug-ht to 
have been, that the Earth is leng-thencd at the Poles. See the Explanation 
of the Plat(?s. 

STUDY IX. 335 

le&gucs, it may be thence concluded that the summit of the Pole 
must be elevated above the circumference of the Earth nearly 
five leagues, in order to have a height proportioned to the course 
of the Ocean, which extends as far as the Line, ninety degrees 
distant, that is to say, two thousand two himdred and fifty leagues 
in a straight line. 

If we farther consider that the course of the Ocean does not 
terminate at the Line, but that when it descends in Summer 
from our Pole, it extends beyond the Cape of Good- Hope, as 
far as to the eastern extremities of Asia, where it forms the 
current known by the name of the Westerly Monsoon, which 
almost encompasses the Globe under the Equator, we shall be 
under the necessity of assigning to the Pole, from which it takes 
it's departure, an elevation proportioned to the course which it 
is destined to perform, and of tripling at least that elevation, in 
order to give it's waters a sufficient declivity. I put it down 
then at fifteen leagues : and if to this height we add that of the 
ices which are there accumulated, the enormous pyramids of 
which over icy mountains have sometimes an elevation of one- 
third above the heights which support them, we shall find that 
the Pole can hardly have less than an elevation of the twenty-five 
leagues above the circumference which Cassi7ii assigned to it. 

Obelisks of ice ten leagues high, are not disproportioned to 
the centre of cupolas of ice two thousand leagues in diameter, 
which in Winter cover our northern Hemisphere ; and which 
have likewise in the southern Hemisphere, in the month of Fe- 
l)ruary, that is, in the very Midsummer of that Hemisphere, 
prominent borders, elevated like promontories, and three thou- 
sand leagues at least in circumference, according to the relation 
of Captain Cook^ who coasted round them in the years 1773 
and 1775. 

The analogy which I establish between the two Hemispheres 
of the Earth, tlie Poles, and the Ocean which flows from them, 
and two mountains, their peaks, and the rivers which there have 
their sources, is in the order of the harmonies of the Globe, 
which exhibits a great number of similar harmonies on a smaller 
scale in the Continents, and in most islands, which are Con- 
tinents in miniature. 

It would appear that Philosophy has, in all ages, affected to find 
out very obscure causes, in order to explain the most common 


effects, in the view of attracting the admiration of the vulgar, 
who in fact scarcely every admire any thing but what they do 
not comprehend. She has not failed to take the advantage of 
this weakness of mankind, by infolding herself in a pomposity 
of words, or in the mysteries of Geometry, the better to carry 
on the deception. For how many ages did she ring in our 
schools, the horror of a vacuum which she ascribed to Nature ? 
How manv sagacious pretended demonstrations of this have been 
given, which were to crown their authors with never-fading- 
laurels, but which arc now gone to the land of forgetfulness ? 

She disdp.ins, on the other hand, to dwell on simple observa- 
tions, which bring down to the level of every capacity the har- 
monies which unite all the kingdoms of Nature. For example, 
the Philosophy of our day refuses to the Moon all influence 
over vegetables and over animals. It is nevertheless certain, 
that the most considerable growth of plants takes place in the 
night-time"; nav, that there are several vegetables which flower 
only during that season ; that numerous classes of insects, birds, 
quadrupeds and fishes, regulate their loves, their hunting match- 
es, and their peregrinations according to the different phases of 
the orb of night. But ivhat, degrade Philosophers to the expe- 
rience of gardeners and fishermen ! What, condescend to think 
■ind talk like such groundlings ! 

If Philosophy denies the influence of the Moon over the mi- 
"iiuter objects of the Earth, she makes it up amply by confer- 
ring on her a very extensive power over the Globe itself, with- 
out being over-scrupulous about the self-contradiction. She af- 
firaas that the Moon, in passing over the Ocean, presses upon 
it, and thus occasions the flux of the tides on it's shores. But 
how is it possible that the Moon should compress our Atmos- 
phere, which only extends, they say, to a score of leagues at 
most from us ? Or, admitting a subtile matter, and possessed 
of great elasticity, which should extend from our Seas as far as 
to the globe of the moon, how could this matter be compressed 
by it, unless you suppose it confined in a channel ? Must it not, 
in it's actual state, extend to the right and to the left, while the 
action of the planet found it impossible to make itself felt on 
any one determinate point of the circumference of our Globe ? 

Besides, why does not the Moon act on lakes and seas of 
:imall extent, where there are no tides ? Their smallness ought 

STUDY IX. 337 

no more to exempt them from the influence of her gravitation, 
than deprive them of the benefit of her light. Why are tides 
almost imperceptible in the Mediterranean ? Wherefore do they 
undergo, in many places, intermittent movements, and retarda- 
tions of two or three days ? Wherefore, in a word, toward the 
North, do they come from the North, from the East, or from the 
West, and not from the South, as was observed with surprize 
by Martens^ Barens^ Linschotten^ and Ellis^ who expected to see 
them come from the Equator, as on the coasts of Europe ? 

The principal movements of the Sea, it must be allowed, 
take place in our Hemisphere, at the same times with the prin- 
cipal phases of the Moon ; but we ought not from thence to 
conclude their necessary dependence, and still less explain it by 
laws which are not demonstrated. The Currents and the Tides 
of the Ocean proceed, as I think I have proved, from the effu- 
sion of the ices of the Poles ; which depend in their turn on 
the variety of the course of the Sun, as he approaches less or 
more toward either Pole : and as the phases of the Moon are 
themselves regulated by the course of the Orb of Day, this is 
the reason why both take place at the same time. 

Farther, the Moon when full has, as we have already ob- 
served, an effective and evaporating warmth : she must act 
therefore on the polar ices, especially when at the full.* The 
Academy of Sciences formerly maintained that her light did 
not warm, after experiments made on her rays, and on the ball 
of a thermometer with a burning mirror. But this is not the 
first error into which we have been betrayed by our books and 
our machinery, as we shall see when we come to speak of the 
decomposition of the solar ray by the prism. Neither is it the 
first time that an assembly of Literati have, without examina- 
tion, adopted an opinion on the authority of persons who made 
experiments with much formality and stateliness. And this is 
the way that errors get into vogue. The one in question has 
iiowever been completely refuted, first at Rome, and afterwards 
at Paris, by a very simple experiment. Some one took a fancy 
to expose a vessel full of water to the light of the Moon, and to 

• This observation was made more tliiin sixteen Imndi-cd years ag'o. " The 
" Moon produces tliaw ; dissolving' all ices and frosts by the humidity of her 
• influence." PUnii's .WHiinil Jlist'tvij, book ii. chap. 101. 

Vol.. I. Vn 


place one similar to it in the shade. The water in the fu^t ves- 
sel was evaporated much sooner than that in the second. 

To no purpose do we exert all our industry and ingenuity; 
we can lay hold of nothing in Nature, except results and har- 
monies : first principles universally escape us. And, what is 
worst of all, the methods of our Sciences have exercised a per- 
nicious influence on our morals and on religion. It is very easy 
to mislead men with respect to an intelligence Avhich governs 
all things, when nothing is presented to them as first causes but 
mechanical means. Alas ! it is not by these that we shall be 
able to find our way toward that Heaven which we pretend to 
know so well. The greatest of Mankind have cast an eye 
thitherward as their last asylum. Cicero flattered himself with 
the hope of being, after death, an inhabitant of the Stars ; and 
Cesar ^ from that elevation to preside over the destiny of Rome. 
An infinite number of other men have limited their future hap- 
piness to a superintendance of mausoleums, groves, fountains ; 
and others to a re-union with the objects of their loves. As 
for us, what are we now hoping for from Earth and from Hea- 
ven, where we see nothing beyond the levers of our pitiful ma- 
chines ? 

How! as the reward of our virtues, is our destination to 
mount no higher than this, to be confounded with the elements ? 
What, thy soul, O sublime Fenelon ! to be exhaled in inflam- 
mable air ; and to have had on the Earth the sentiment of an 
order which did not exist even in the Heavens ! How, among 
those Stars so luminous, is there nothing but inaterial Globes ; 
and in their motions, so constant and so varied, nothing but 
blind attractions ? How ! Every thing around us insensible 
matter and no more j and intelligence given to Man, who could 
give himself nothing, only to render him miserable ! How ! and 
can we have been deceived by the involuntary sentiment which 
makes us raise our eyes to Heaven, in the agony of sorrow, 
there to solicit relief! The animal on the point of closing his 
career, abandons himself to his natural instincts. The stag at 
bay seeks refuge in the most sequestered spot of the forests, 
content to yield up the roving spirit which animates him, under 
their hospitable shades. The dying bee forsakes the flowers, 
returns to expire at the door of her hive, and to bequeath her 
social instinct to her beloved Repnblir. And Man, following- 

STUDY IX. 339 

ihe bent of his reasoning powers, can he no where find, in the 
widely extended Universe, any thing worthy of receiving his 
departing sighs ; not even inconstant friends, nor selfish kin- 
dred, nor an ungrateful Country, nor a soil stubborn to all his 
labours, nor a Heaven indifferent to crimes and to virtue ? 

Ah ! it is not thus that Nature has apportioned her gifts*. 
We bewilder ourselves with our vain Sciences. By driving 
the researches of our understanding up to the very principles of 
Nature, nay of Deity, we have stifled in the heart all feelings 
of botli the one and the other. The same thing has befallen us 
which once befel a peasant who was living happily in a little 
valley in the heart of the Alps. A brook which descended 
from these mountains fertilized his garden. For a long time 
he adored in tranquillity the beneficent Naiad who kept his 
stream perpetually flowing ; and who increased it's quantity 
and it's coolness as the Summer's heat increased. One day a 
fancy struck him that he would go and discover the place where 
she concealed her inexhaustible urn. To prevent his going 
astray, he begins with pursuing upward the track of his rivulet. 
Every step he takes in ascending discovers to him a thousand 
new objects ; plains, forests, rivers, kingdoms, boundless Oceans, 
Transported with delight, he proceeds in flattering hope of 
speedily reaching the blessed abode where the Gods preside 
over the destiny of this world. But after a painful scramble, 
he arrives at the bottom of a tremendous glacier. He no longer 
sees any thing around him but mists, rocks, torrents, precipices. 
All, all has vanished. Sweet and tranquil valley, humble roof, 
beneficent Naiad ! his patrimony is now reduced to a cloud, 
and his divinity to an enormous mass of ice. 

It is thus that Science has conducted us through seductive 
paths to a termination so fearful. She drags after her, in the 
train of her ambitious researches, that ancient malediction pro- 
nounced a-gainst the first man who should dare to eat the fruit 
of her forbidden tree,* " Behold, die man is become as one of 
" us, to know good and evil. He shall not therefore put fortli 
" his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live 
" for ever." What literar}', political, and religious squabbles 
have our pretended Sciences excited ! How many men has she 
prevented from living even a single day! 

Oi'ucsi'i. chap, iv ycr<!V ?? 


The sublime genius and the pure spirit of Newton, assuredly 
could not have stood still at the boundary prescribed to a vul- 
gar mind. On observing the clouds resorting from every quar- 
ter to the mountains which separate Italy from the rest of Eu- 
rope, he would have inferred the attraction of their summits, 
and the direction of their chains, conformably to the basons ol 
the Seas and to the courses of the winds : he would thence 
have inferred equivalent dispositions for the difterent summits 
of the Continent and of the Islands : he would have seen the 
^'apours arising out of the bosom of the Seas of America, and 
conveying through the air fecundity to the centre of Europe, 
fixing themselves in solid ice on the lofty pinnacles of the rocks, 
>n order to cool the Atmosphere of hot countries ; undergoing 
new combinations, to produce new effects ; and returning in a 
fluid state to wash their former shores, diffusing, in their mys- 
terious progress, unlimited abundance in a thousand different 
channels. He would have observed with admiration the con- 
stant impulsion communicated to so many various movements, 
by the action of one single luminary, the Sun, placed at the dis- 
tance of thirtv-two millions of leagues : and instead of fruitless- 
ly rambling after the habitation of a Naiad at the summit of 
the Alps, he would have prostrated himself before that GOD 
whose Providence embraces the concerns of a whole Universe. 

In order to study Nature with understanding and to advan- 
tage, all the parts must be viewed in their harmony and connec- 
tion. For my part, I who do not pretend to be a Newton, am 
determined never to leave the borders of my rivulet. I shall 
set up my rest in my humble valley, and employ myself in cul- 
ling some herbs and flowers ; happy if I am able to form of 
them some garlands to decorate the entrance of that rustic 
Temple, which my feeble hands have presumed to rear to tht- 
Majesty of Nature ! * 

* The system of the harmonics of Natui-t;, ■\vhlch I am proceedhig to un- 
fold, is, in my opinion, the only one which is within the reach of iSIan. R 
was first disphiyed by Pythagoras of Samos, who was the father of Philoso- 
])hy, andtlie founder of that sect of Philosophers who have been transmitted, 
to us under the name of Pjthagoreans. Xever did a succession of men arise 
so enlightened as those sages were in the natural Sciences ; and none wliose 
discoveries reflect higher honour on the. human understanding-. Thei'e ex- 
jsttd at that time Philosophers who maintained that water, fire, air, atoms. 

STUDY IX. 341 

^ere the principles of things. Pythagoras insisted, in opposition to this doc- 
trine, that the principles of things were the adaptations and the the propor- 
tions of which the harmonies were composed, and that goodness and intelli- 
gence constituted the nature of GOD. 

He was the first who gave to the Universe the epithet of mundus, because 
of it's order. He maintained that it was governed by a Providence ; a senti- 
ment perfectly conformable to the tenor of our Sacred Books and to expcri- 
tncc. He invented the five. Zones, and the obliquity of the Zodiac. He taught 
tliat the Torid Zone was habitable. He ascribed earthquakes to the water. 
\n fact their focuses, as well as those of volcanos, as we have already indi- 
cated, are always in the vicinity of the Sea, or of some great lake. He be- 
lieved that each of the Stars was a World, containing an Eax'th, an Air, and a 
Heaven ; and even in his time, this had been an anciently received opinion ; 
for it is to be found in the vei-ses of Orpheiis. Finally, he discovered th<; 
square of the Inpothenuse, which has served as a basis to an infinite number 
of geometrical theorems and solutions. 

Philolaus, ofCrotona, one of his disciples, maintained, that the Sun I'ccciv- 
ed the fire diffused over the Universe, and reverberated it, which affords a 
better explanation of it's nature than the perpetual emanations of light and 
heat which we ascribe to him, without reparation and without exhaustion. 
He held that Comets were Stars which re -appeared after a certain revolution. 
^cetes, another Pythagorian, maintained the existence of two Continents, 
that which we inhabit and one opposite to it ; an idea applicable only to 

These Philosophers believed that the soid of Man was a harmony com- 
posed of two parts ; the one reasonable, the other irrational. They placed the 
first in the head, and the other round the heart. They contended for it's im- 
mortality ; and taught, that at the death of tlic man his soul returned to the 
Soul of the Universe. They approved of divination by dreams and augury, 
and condemned that which is performed by means of sacrifices. They had 
such a strong sense of humanity that they abstained from shedding the 
blood even of animals, and from eating their flesh. 

Nature rewarded their virtues, and the gentleness of their manners by in- 
numerable discoveries, and bestowed on them the glory of havmg as follow- 
ers, Socrates, Plato, Archytas of T(ircntum, who invented the screw, Xcno- 
phon, Epaminondus, who was educated by Lysis the Pythagorian, and the- 
good king J^''uina, who taught the Tuscan priests to conjure down the thun- 
der : in a word, she conferred on them all the lustre that Philosophv, Litera- 
ture, the Military Art, or Uoyalty Itself can communicate to the mosttivour- 
cd of mortals. 

Pythagorus has been calumniated as having given encouragement to cti- 
tain unmeaning superstitions, among others, abstinence from the u^c of bean, 
&c. Uut as truth is frequently mider the necessity of presenting herself to 
men under a veil, the great Philosopher, imder this alegory, conveyed to his 
disciples an advice to abstain from public employments, because it was then 
the custom to make use of beans in voting at the election of Magistrates. 

A very celebrated Writer of modern times, who seems to look witli an evil 
eye on every man of illusU-ious reputation, has presumed to attack tlie charac- 
ter of Xi'tiophon, in whom were united almost all the eminent qualities which 
'.sn dignify human natiii-e ; pi'-ty, puriirol .manner.-, military skill and valour. 


and eloquence. His style is so sweetly flowing, that the Greeks bestowed ot? 
him the appellation of the Athenian Bee. This great man has been lately cen- 
sured on the ground of that celebrated retreat, by which he brought back ten 
thousand Greeks into their own Country from the very extremity of Persia, 
having performed a march of eleven hundred leagues through a hostile coun- 
try, and amidst foes innumerable. 

It has been asserted by a man of great learning, that the retreat of this re- 
nowned General was an effect of the good-nature or the piety of Jirtaxerxes ; 
and he has of consequence treated the route which Xenophon pursued, by the 
north of Persia, as a superfluous precaution. — But is it credible that the King 
of Persia intentionally shewed indulgence to the Greeks, when we know, thai 
by a perfidious piece of cruelty he had put to death twenty-five of tlieir chief 
men ? How was it possible for those Greeks to have returned by the same 
road which they m ent, considering that every thing in this track had been 
put in motion to intercept them, and that the Persians had, through it's whole 
extent, destroyed the villages ? Xenophcm defeated all their precautions, by 
directing his march through a track of which they had no foresight. 

For my own part, I consider this military expedition as the most illustrious 
that ever was achieved ; not only from the innumerable conflicts, crossing of 
rivers, forced marches over mountains, in the face of myi'iads upon mjTiads 
of enemies, through which it was accomplished ; but because it was not sul- 
lied by a single act of injustice, and had no other object in view but the pre- 
servation of citizens. All that is held in high renown among the Warriors of 
Antiquity ; have considered the retreat of the ten thousand as a master-piece 
in the military art. There is a single expression transmitted to u;?, which 
will forever cover it with glory, uttered in an age, and among a people by 
which the science of War was carried to the height of perfection, and in a 
situation which admitted not of dissimulation : I mean an expi'ession of .4k- 
thomj, when entangled in the country of the Parthians. That General, who pos- 
sessed great military talents, and had at that time the command of an arm} 
of a hundred and thirteen thousand men, of whom sLxtj' thousand were actu- 
ally Roman citizens, obliged, as Xenophon was, to make a retreat in the face ot 
the Parthians, and twenty times on the point of failing in his attempt, fre- 
quently exclaimed, v.ith a sigh ! O thf tf-n thnmcind ! (Sec Pluiutch.) 




WE shall divide these Laws into Laws physical and Laws 
moral. We shall first examine, in the sequel of this Volume, 
some physical Laws common to all the Kingdoms of Nature ; 
and in the following Study, shall make the application of them 
to plants, in conformity to the Plan proposed in the commence- 
ment of this Work. We shall afterwards proceed to the con- 
sideration of moral Laws : and shall endeavour to unfold in 
these, as well as in the physical Laws, the means of diminish- 
ing the sum of human wretchedness. 

I must make frequent appeals to the candor of my Readers. 
I am presuming to open a path hitherto vmattempted. I dare 
not flatter myself with the belief that my progress and success 
keep pace with the ardor of my imagination, and the anticipa- 
tions of my heart. But the imperfect materials which I have 
busied myself in collecting, may perhaps one day assist men oi 
greater ability, and in a happier situation, in raising to Nature 
a temple more worthy of her. Recollect, my dear Reader, that 
all I promised you was the frontispiece and the ruins of it. 


Though Conformity be a perception of our reason, I place it 
at the head of Physical Laws, because it is the first feeling 
which we endeavour to gratify in examining natural objects. 
Nay, there is a connection so intimate between the physical cha- 
racter of those objects, and the instinct of every being possessed 

• I do liot know any single word in our language which expresses closely 
tlic import of Uie French word convimancc. It signifies snitabl-mesi;, coiTes- 
pniuh-nrp, the exact adaptation of one thing to anotJier. I employ the term 
lovformity, as coming tlie nearest to our Authoi*'s idea of any one that occur- 
red to my mind. Whoever has attempted translation must frequently have 
felt the difficulty of rendering certain words by exactly equivalent worjg, 
(hough he was at no los.s wiicro gcnrrnl mcmhig and expression were con- 


of sensibility, that colour simply is sufficient to rouse the passions 
of animals. A red object puts the bull into a rage, and suggests 
to most fowls and fishes the idea of prey. The objects of Na- 
ture display in Man a feeling of a higher order, independent 
of his wants ; it is that of conformity. It is by means of the 
multiplied conformities of Nature that Man has formed his own 
reason ; for reason means nothing else but the relation^ or con- 
formity^ of things that exist. Thus, for example, if I examine 
a quadruped, the eye-lids, which it can raise or let fall at plea- 
sure, present to me conformities with light ; when I look at the 
form of his feet, I see a conformity to the soil which he is des- 
tined to inhabit. It is impossible for me to conceive a deter- 
minate idea of these, without combining on the subject various 
feelings of conformity, or the want of it. Nay, the most ma- 
terial objects, and such as have not in the strictness of speech 
any decided form, cannot present themselves to us without those 
-intellectual relations. A rustic grotto, or a steep rock, please or 
give pain according as they present to us the ideas of repose or 
of obscurity, of perspective or of precipice. 

Animals have a sensibility only of objects which have parti- 
cular conformities to ther wants. It may be affirmed that they 
have in this respeet a share of reason as perfect as our own. 
Had Nexvton been a bee, he could not with all his geometry 
have constructed his cell in a hive without giving it, as the ho- 
ney-bee has done, six equal partitions. But Man differs from 
animals in his capacity of extending this sentiment of conformi- 
ty to all the relations of Nature, however foreign they may be 
to his personal demands. It is this extension of reason which 
has procured for him by way of eminence the denomination of 
a rational animal. 

It is unquestionably true that if all the particular rationality 
of all animals were united, the sum would probably transcend 
the general reason of Man ; for human reason has devised most 
of it's arts and crafts entirely from an imitation of their produc- 

cerned : for there is no perfect convenmice betuecn language and language. 
I wish it to be understood then, that wherever the word conformity occurs in 
the immediate sequel of this Translation, the meaning is a complete coinci- 
dence, congruity, or tallying of object with object, as a bone fitted to it's 
socket, as the undulations of a paper check to those of it's counter-clieck, as 
eve to eye, hand to hand, foot to foot ; and it applies equally to natiu-al and 
lo moral obiccts. — H. H. 

STUDY X. 345 

f ions J besides, all animals come into the world with their pe- 
culiar industr}^, whereas Man is under the necessity of acquir- 
ing his at the expense of much time and reflection ; and, as 
I have just observed, by imitating the industry and skill of an- 
other. But Man excels them not only by uniting in himself alone 
the intelligence scattered over all the rest, but by his capability 
of rising upward to the source of all conformities, namely to 
GOD himself. The only character which essentially distinguish- 
es Man from the animal is this. He is a religious Being. 

No one animal partakes with him of this sublime faculty. It 
may be considered as the principal of human intelligence. By 
it man is exalted above the instinct of the beasts, so as to be 
enabled to form a conception of the general plans of Nature ; 
and which led him to suppose an order of things, from having 
caught a glimpse of an Author. By it he was emboldened to 
employ fire as the first of agents, to cross the Ocean, to give a 
new face to the Earth by agriculture, to subject all animals to 
his empire, to establish Society on the basis of a religion, and 
to attempt to raise himself up to Dkity by his virtues. It was 
not nature, as is commonly believed, which first pointed out 
GOD to Man, but it is a sense of the Deity in Man which has 
indicated to him the order of nature. The Savages are religi- 
ous, long before they are Naturalists. 

Accordingly, by the sentiment of this universal conformity, 
Man is struck wifh all possible conformities, though they may 
be foreign to him. He takes an interest in the history of an in- 
sect ; and if his attention is not engaged in behalf of all the in- 
sects which surround him, it is because he perceives not their 
relations, unless there be some Reaumur at hand to display 
them to him ; or else the constant habit of seeing them renders 
them insipid ; perhaps it may be some odious or contemptible 
prejudice ; for he is affected still more by moral than by physi- 
cal ideas, and by his passions more than by his reason. 

We shall farther remark, that all the sentiments of conformi- 
ty spring up in the heart of Man at the sight of some useful 
end, wliich frequently has no manner of relation to his own per- 
sonal wants : it follows that Man is naturally good, for this 
ver)' reason, that he is rational ; seeing the aspect alone of a con- 
formity, though entirely foreign to him, communicates a sense 
<jf pleasure. It is from diis natural sentiment of goodness, that 

Vol . I. X x 


the sight of a well-proportioned animal conveys to us agreeable 
sensations, which increase in proportion as the creature unfolds 
it's instinct. We love to see a turtle even in an aviery ; but that 
bird pleases still more when at large in the forest, uttering the 
murmurs of love from the top of an elm, or when we perceive 
her busily constructing in it a nest for her young with all the 
solicitude of her maternal tenderness. 

Once more, it is from a result of this natural goodness that 
want of conformity communicates a painful sensation, which is 
always excited at sight of any thing incongruous. Thus we are 
shocked on looking at a monster. It gives us pain to see an 
animal wanting a foot or an eye. This feeling is independent 
of ever}' idea of pain relatively to ourselves, let Philosophers say 
Avhat they will ; for we suffer in such a case though we are as- 
sured that the animal came into the world in that defective 
state. We are pained at the sight of incongruity, even in insen- 
sible objects. Withered plants, mutilated trees, an ill assorted 
edifice, hurt our feelings. These sensations are perverted or 
suppressed in Man only by prejudice or by education. 


A series of conformities which have a common centre con-s 
stitutes order. There are conformities in the members of an 
animal ; but order exists only in the bod}'. Conformity refers 
to the detail, and order to the combination. Order extends our 
pleasure by collecting a great number of conformities, and it 
fixes them by giving them a determination toward one centre. 
It discovers to us at once in a single object, a succession of par- 
ticular conformities, and the leading conformity to which they 
all refer. Thus order gives us pleasure, as beings endowed 
Avith a reason which embraces all Nature ; and it pleases us 
still more perhaps, as being weak and limited creatures, capable 
of taking in only a single point at once. 

It gives us pleasure for example to viev; the relations between 
the proboscis of a bee and the nectareous juices of flowers ; be- 
tween those of her thighs hollowed into spoons, and bristled 
with hairs, to the fine powder of the stamina which she there 
collects ; between those of her four wings, to the boot}'^ with 
which she is loaded, (a resource by nature denied to flics which 
travel without a burthen, and which for this reason are fujnish- 

STUDY X. 347 

nished with two only ;*) finally, the use of a long sting which 
she has received for the defence of her property, and all the 
conformities of the organs of this small insect, which are more 
ingenious and in much greater number than those of the largest 

But the interest grows upon us when we see her covered all 
over with a yellow powder, her thighs pendent, and half op- 
pressed with her burden, directing her flight through the air, 
across plains, rivers, and shady groves, under points of the wind, 
with which she is well acquainted, and alighting with a hum- 
ming sound on the cavernous trunk of some aged oak. Here 
again we perceive a successive order, on seeing a great multi- 
tude of little individuals similar to her, coming out and going in 
according as the business of the hive may require. That one. 
whose particular conformities we have been adiuiring, is only a 
single member of a numerous Republic ; and this Republic it- 
self is but a small Colony of the immense Nation of bees, spread 
over the whole Earth, from the Line up to the shores of thp 
Frozen Ocean. 

This Nation again is subdivided into different species, con- 
formably to the various species of flowers ; for there are some 
which, being destined to live on flowers which have no depth, 
such as the radiated, are armed with five hooks, to prevent their 
sliding on the petals. Others on the contrar}', such as the bees 
of America, have no stings, because they construct their hives 
in the trunks of prickly trees, which are very common in that 
part of the world : such trees accordingly are their protection. 
There are many other conformities among the other species of 
tees with which we are totally unacquainted. Nevertheless 
this vast Nation, so varied in it's Colonies, and whose posses- 
sions are so extensive, is but one litde family of the class of flies 
of which we know in our own Climate alone, near six thousand 
species, most of them as distinct from each other, as to forms 
and instincts, as bees themselves are from other flies. 

II we were to compare the relations of this volatile class, so 
numerous in itself, with all the parts of the vegetable and animal 
kingdoms, we should find an innumerable multitude of difltrent 

* The ichneumon, or aquatic dragon-fly, is in like manner provided with 
four wings, because she too was intended to fly under a load I have seen 
her catch buttcrflicB uj the air 


orders of conformitv ; and were we to add to them those which 
are presented to us in the legions of butterflies, scarabs, locusts, 
and other insects which likewise fly, we should multiply them 
to infinity. All this still would be but a small matter, com- 
pared to the various industry of the other insects which crawl, 
which leap, which swim, which climb, which walk, which are 
motionless ; the number of these is incomparably greater than 
that of the first : and the history of these last, added to that of 
the others, would after all be the history of only one puny race 
of this great Republic of the World, replenished as it is with 
innumerable shoals of fi.shes, and endless legions of quadrupeds, 
amphibious animals, and birds. 

All other classes, with their divisions and subdivisions, the 
minutest individual of which presents a very extensive sphere of 
conformities, are themselves only particular conforaiities ; only 
rays and points in the general sphere, of which Man alone 
occupies the centre, and appreliends the immensity. 

From a sense of the general order two other sentiments ob- 
viously result ; the one which throws us imperceptibly into the 
bosom of the Deity, and the other, which recal&us to the per- 
ception of our wants ; the one which exhibits to us as the origi- 
nal cause, a Being infinitely intelligent v/ithout us, and the other, 
as the ultimate end, a very limited being in our own person. 
These two sentiments chai'acterize the two powers of which Man 
is constituted, the spiritual and the corporeal. This is not the 
place to unfold these ; it is sufficient for my purpose to remark, 
that these two natural sentiments arc the general sources of the 
pleasure which we derive from the order of Nature. Animals 
are affected only by the second, and that in a very limited 

A bee has a sentiment of the order of her hive ; but she 
knows nothing beyond that. She is totally ignorant of the order 
which regulates the ants in their nest, though she may have fre- 
quently seen them prosecuting their labours. To no purpose 
would she resort, in the event of her hive's being destroyed, to 
seek refuge as a republican in the midst of their Republic. To^ 
ti,o purpose, in the hour of distress, would she attempt to avail 
herself of the qualities which she has in common with them, and 
which make communities to flourish, temperance, a disposition 
to industry, the love of Countn-, and above all, that of equality. 

STUDY X. ,^49 

United to superior talents : she would meet from them with no 
hospitality', no consideration, no compassion. Nay, she would 
not find an asylum even among other bees of a different species : 
for every species has it's proper sphere assigned to it, and this 
by an effect of the wisdom of Nature ; for if it were otherwise, 
the best organized species, or the strongest, would expel the 
others from their domains. Hence it follows, that the society 
of animals could not subsist independent of the passions, nor 
human society independent of virtue. Man alone, of all animals, 
possesses the sentiment of universal order, which is that of the 
Deity himself; and by carrying over the whole Eaith the vir- 
tues which are the fruits of it, whatever may be the differences 
which prejudice interposes between man and man, it is sure of 
alluring all hearts to itself. It was by this sentiment of imiver- 
sal order which governed your life, that you have become the 
men of all Nations, and that )ou interest us still, even when vou 
are no longer with us, Aristides, Socrates^ Marciis-Aureliiis^ di- 
vine Fem-lon, imd you, likewise, unfortunate yohn yamea! 


Nature opposes beings to each other, in order to produce be- 
tween them agreeable conformities. This Law has been ac- 
knowledged from the highest Antiquity. It is to be found in 
many passages of the Holy Scriptures. I produce one from the 
Book of Ecclesiasticus :* Omnia duplida^ xtnum contra ximim £>" 
non fecit quidqituin deesae. " All things are double, one against 
" another ; and He hath made nothing imperfect : one thing 
" establisheth the good of another." 

I consider this great truth as the key of all Piiilosophy. It 
has likewise been fruitful in discovery, as well as that otlier ; 
Nothing- has been created in vain. It has been the source of 
taste in the arts and in eloquence. Out of contraries arise the 
pleasures of vision, of hearing, of touching, of tasting, and all 
the attractions of beauty, of whatever kind it may be. But front 
contraries likewise arise ugliness, discord, and all the sensations 
which fill us with disgust. In this there is something very 
wonderful, that Nature should employ tlie same causes to pro- 
duce effects so different. When she opposes contraries to each 

• Ecclesiasticus, cb rip. xJii, ver. 'J4, 25. 


other, painful affections are excited in us ; but when she blends 
them, we are agreeably affected. From the opposition of con- 
traries spring discord, and from their union results harmony. 

Let us endeavour to find in Nature some proofs of this great 
Law, Cold is the opposite of heat, light of darkness, earth of 
water ; and the harmony of these contrary elements produces 
effects the most delightful ; but if cold succeeds rapidly to heat, 
or heat to cold, most vegetables and animals exposed to such 
sudden revolutions are in danger of perishing. The light of the 
Sun is agreeable ; but if a black cloud suddenly intercepts, or 
bears upon the lustre of his rays, or if a gleaming flame, such 
as that of lightning, bursts from the bosom of a very dark night, 
the eye in both these cases undergoes a painful sensation. The 
horror of a thunder-storm is greatly increased, if the tremen- 
dous explosions are interrupted by intervals of profound silence j 
and it is heightened inexpressibly, if the oppositions of those ce- 
lestial fires and obscurities, of that tumult and tranquillity, make 
themselves felt in the gloom and silence of night. 

Nature opposes, in like manner, at sea, the white foam of 
the billows to the black colour of the rocks, in order to an- 
nounce to the mariners from afar the danger of shallows. She 
frequently presents to them forms analagous to destruction, 
such as those of ferocious animals, of edifices in ruin, or of the 
keels of ships turned upward. She even extracts from these 
awful forms hollow noises resembling groans, and broken off by 
long intervals of silence. The Ancients believed that they saw 
in the rock of Scylla a female of a hideous form, whose girdle 
was surrounded by a pack of dogs which barked incessantly. 
Mariners have given to the rocks of the Bahama channel, so 
noted for shipwrecks, the name of the 3Iartyrs^ because they 
present, through the spray of the billows which break on them, 
the horrid spectacle of men impaled, and exposed on wheels. 
You would even imagine that you heard sighs and sobbings is- 
suing from these dismal shallows. 

Nature employs in like manner those clashing oppositions, 
and those ominous signs, to express the characters of savage 
and dangerous animals of all kinds. The lion strolling by 
night through the solitudes of Africa, announces his approach 
from a great distance, by roarings which have a striking re- 
semblance to the rolling of thunder. The vivid and instants- 

STUDY X. 351 

neous flashes of fire which dart from his eyes in the dark, ex- 
hibit besides the appearance ot that formidable meteor, light- 
ning. During the Winter season the bowlings of the wolves in 
the forests of the North resemble the whistling of the winds as 
they agitate the trees ; the cries of birds of prey are shrill, 
piercing, and now and then interrupted by hollow notes. Nay, 
there are some which emit the sounds of a human being in 
pain. Such is the lorn, a species of sea-fowl, which feeds on 
the shelvy coast of Lapland,* on the dead bodies of animals 
which are there put ashore : he cries like a man a-drowning. 

Noxious insects exhibit the same oppositions, and the same 
signals of destruction. The gnat, thirsting after human blood, 
announces himself to the eye by the white points with which 
his brown-coloured body is studded, and to the car by his shrill 
notes, which disturb the tranquillity of the grove. The carni- 
vorous wasp is speckled, like the tiger, with black stripes on a 
yellow ground. You frequently find in our gardens, about the 
roots of trees which are decaying, a species of bug, of a long- 
ish form, which bears on it's red body marbled with black, the 
mask of a death's head. Finally, the insects which attack our 
persons more immediately, however small they may be, distin- 
guish themselves by glaring oppositions of colour to the field on 
which they settle. 

But when two contraries come to be b